All your baking queries in one section

Using your Halogen Oven

Blind Baking

Line the base of a flan dish with the pastry.

Prick the base with a fork several times.

Place a layer of greaseproof paper in the bottom and either make a layer of ceramic baking beans or rice and pop into the oven for 15 minutes until golden brown.

Cake Mixing

If you have problems creaming the butter and sugar together when making a cake, this might make it easier for you.
First of all, make sure that you take the butter out of the fridge at least an hour before you want to use it but if you forget to do this, just put the butter and the sugar into a bowl and place in the microwave for 5 seconds on full power and you will find that beating is so much easier.

If you have lumps in the sugar, it will also get rid of these too!

Melting Chocolate

There are 2 ways to melt chocolate:-
Microwaving, where you place the chocolate in pieces and put in a bowl on high heat for 1 min. Stir after 30 secs and then cook for a further 30 secs. (Based on a 650w microwave)

Remove from microwave, leave to stand for 1 min, stirring all the time.

The second way is to do it in the conventional way using a bain marie or glass bowl over a pan of simmering water, making sure that the water does NOT touch the bowl - this is critical.

In both case when the chocolate has melted, stir and add a knob of butter and a little cream and blend in well. This will give a lovely glossy sheen to the chocolate.

Blow Torches

All I can say is that if you are into desserts such as Creme Brulee or cheesy toppings which require time under the grill, invest in a cooking blow torch - worth their weight in gold, safe and easy to use and professional results every time!

Available from all good department stores and cookshops.

MJ Harradine Ltd. Registered number 04633171
1 Yardley Way, Belper, Derbyshire DE56 0ES