From a young age I have loved baking especially with my mum. As a young child I found it magical to see how the cakes in the oven would change and get bigger and bigger. Or seeing how the biscuits got all golden; not forgetting the wonderful smells they created coming from the oven.
My mum used to come into my primary and do cookery lessons, we learnt how to make lots of different things from cheese scones, jam tarts and marble cake to name a few.
A few years ago I went into a mental health hospital for a couple of weeks. I had 1:1 sessions with the occupational therapist (OT for short). The OT and I had quite a few sessions together baking. We would bake party food together such as cupcakes,biscuits and brownies. I would make party food because when someone was due to leave the ward we would have a little leaving party for them. I enjoyed doing baking activities whilst in hospital as it helped me with my anxiety as I started to feel more comfortable around others. I found by baking it helped me to talk to others and start conversations. People would ask me questions like “what recipe book did you use?”Or “how much chocolate did you use ? “. From just these few questions the conversations I was having grew and before I knew it I had made new friends. I loved seeing others enjoying my baking!
Last year at college I did baking sessions to build up my independent living skills. I would make all the recipes from scratch and my 1:1 helper would help me to make each recipe. I made things such as Victoria Sponge Cake, Black Forest Gateau Cake and Pineapple Upside Down Cake. At college before I made anything I would go on the computer and look at a supermarket website to see how much the ingredients cost and how much I would be spending to make each recipe. I would then go to that supermarket and buy the ingredients I needed.
Chocolate Fridge Cake.
Baking doesn’t just make me feel happy, it helps me build up lots of different skills:
Baking helps me to improve my maths as I have to weigh each ingredient correctly to make sure the recipe turns out right . I also need to make sure the oven is on the correct heat and I have to manage my time efficiently because my baking needs to be done and cooked properly before the end of the day.
Sometimes when baking I will need to rub butter into the flour with my finger tips to make a crumble type mixture, by doing this with my hands I am building up my hand strength; I need to make sure I am building up my strength as I am weaker on one side of my body due to my disability.
I find following recipe instructions sometimes difficult to understand so by trying out new recipes I am not only building up on my reading skills but I start to understand the sequence of the instructions.
At college I enjoyed baking things for when we did cake sales . We raise money for Children in Need, Comic Relief and local charities that helped disabled people and their families.
At Christmas time I love to bake with my mum. Filling the kitchen with all smells that scream the Christmas Season from the smells of cinnamon to dried orange.
This year I tried out a new recipe from Tanya Burr’s new book TANYA’S Christmas. I loved how these scones turned out, however I put my own twist on the recipe so I thought I would share it with you.
Makes 12 Small Scones/ 8 Big Scones
if you would like quite big scones you will need 5cm round pastry cutter
Cooking Time 15 Minutes
250g self-raising flour ,plus extra for dusting
1tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
lemon zest or orange zest
40g unsalted butter softened
30g golden caster sugar
1 large egg, lightly beaten
125ml milk, plus extra for brushing
For the glaze:
3-4 tbsp lemon juice
150g icing sugar , sifted
- Preheat the oven to 200*C / 400 F / Gas Mark 6. Then line a baking tray with baking paper.
- Combine the flour, baking powder,spices and lemon or orange zest in a bowl. Add the butter, using your fingertips work the butter into the flour until the mixture has a crumbly texture. Then stir in the sugar.
- Add the lightly beaten egg into the flour mixture then add the milk; little by little not all at once. You might not need to add all the milk. You just need enough for your dough to be soft and sticky.
- Dust your work surface with a little bit of flour. Put the dough out onto the floured surface. Using your hands pat it into a nice flat disc shape. Roll it gentle a few times to flattered it to a thickness of 2-3 cm.
- Using your pastry cutter; cut out your circles and place them on the baking tray. Repeat this making sure when you need to bring the dough back together you knead it lightly, before patting it into a disc to cut out more circles.
- Brush the tops of each scone with milk and pop into the oven for about 10-12 minutes or until the tops of the scones are golden.
- Whilst the scones bake, prepare the glaze by stirring the lemon juice into the icing sugar a little at a time until you have a smooth runny mixture. You could add lemon or orange zest into the glaze.
- Remove the scones from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely . Pour the smooth runny glaze over the tops and allow them to set. You could just enjoy them whilst the glaze just put on them.
150g Dark Chocolate, roughly chopped.
150g Unsalted Butter.
3 Large Eggs.
125g Caster Sugar.
1tsp Vanilla Extract.
Zest of 1 Clementine.
1 tbsp Orange Juice.
3 tbsp Red Wine.
1/4 tsp Ground Mixed Spices.
100g Plain Flour.
1/4 tsp Baking Powder.
For The Decoration.
A Couple Of Rows Of White Chocolate From The Chocolate Bar.
1. Preheat the oven to 180*C, Fan160*C, Gas 4 and line the base of a round 24cm-diameter springform tin.
2. Melt the chocolate and butter in a bowl over a saucepan of gentle simmering water, making sure the bowl does not touch the water. You could gently melt the chocolate and butter in the microwave at a low setting; stir until smooth. Remove from the heat and let it cool for 20 minutes.
3. In a large bowl whisk the eggs , caster sugar and vanilla extract. Then add in the clementine zest , orange juice , red wine and ground mixed spice whisk till just combined. In a separate bowl sift the flour and baking powder. Pour the cooled chocolate mixture into the beaten eggs and mix until combined and smooth. Then fold in the flour mixture until combined making sure no flour is visible.
4. Pour the mixture into the lined tin. Transfer to the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes until set on top but still a little bit gooey inside. Leave to cool in the tin.
5. Whilst the cake is cooling, melt the white chocolate on a low heat in the microwave for about a minute and a half. Once melted stir the chocolate to help get rid of any lumps. Once the cake is completely cooled, take the cake out of the tin and drizzled the white chocolate all over the top of the cake.