Bonfire baking!

We got our bake on again the other weekend, and this time Autumn was our inspiration – queue lots of brown, beige and orange bakes!

We’re covered in scaffolding at the moment as the Manor is having a new roof put on. So it was lovely to dust down and get out the vintage crockery, if only to bring back a temporary sense of normality to the Manor!

Our welcome cocktail was an invention of mine – lady marmalade. This was bourbon and orange liquers mixed up with orange juice, lemon juice, ginger ale and lemon syrup. Guests seemed to love this for its refreshing, fruity spiciness. I’ve promised to post the recipe in due course so watch this space.

For savouries I kept it simple but tasty. Around bonfire night I love a good jacket potato, and so for the tea I did mini ones with a salty, herby crust. I served these atop home baked Boston beans. Haricot beans were slow cooked with treacle and bacon – leaving you with something that tastes just liked the famous brand, very bizarre! My other offering was a tasty slice of rarebit with Yorkshire stout and Wensleydale cheddar. The salty, umami flavours worked really well with my sweet tomato and apple chutney. I ate a good few of the leftovers! I think rarebit is very underrated!

Susie prepared one of her trademark pork pies – a very beautiful thing indeed! She mixed it up a bit by putting some apple in the meat mix, leading to a sweet and succulently soft pie. Guests were salivating over this and I’m not surprised. Susie’s other treat were fishfinger baps – the ultimate in comfort food. Line caught cod was breaded and baked and then served up in Susie’s homemade baps and homemade tartar sauce, yum!

Bakewise I was keen to try my hand at a pumpkin pie. I steamed pumpkin pieces until tender and then passed through a sieve to produce a smooth puree. This was then mixed with spices, eggs, maple syrup and lots of sugar to create a very bizarre custard! This was baked in my homemade sweet walnut pastry. The outcome was not dissimilar to a cheesecake as the savoury element of the pumpkin played through in an subtle sour way. I served it with grand marnier cream, crystallised ginger and candied pumpkin seeds, which were lovely and nutty. I also baked up some friands – a cake I am quickly becoming obsessed with for their nutty, chewy moistness! This time I used my homemade mulled pears, ginger and almonds in the mix and then if that wasn’t enough I topped them all with lashings of salted caramel! I’ve discovered Nigella’s easy recipe, which is much simpler than faffing around with sugar thermometers.

Susie baked up the obligatory scones, these were a lovely vibrant yellow from the fresh eggs she used. We served these with homemade apple and damson jam. Whilst I have been obsessed with friands, Susie has been obsessed with choux pastry! She’s been experimenting with eclairs over on her Sticky Pinny site. For the tea she created moresish little malted chocolate eclairs. Choux pastry was filled with a malted crème pat and decorated with a luxurious chocolate ganache and crumbled maltesers! Her final offering was an orange and pistachio cake. This was a colourful, fruity interlude in what was otherwise a very Autumnal menu! Guests didn’t have any room for this cake so they all went home clutching doggy bags!

So as 2014 is drawing to a close we have one last event this year – our chilli themed Christmas supperclub. We’re just putting the finishing touches to the menu and will publish soon. Hopefully by then the building work will be done and the scaffold will be down so that we can celebrate Christmas properly!

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