Brendan Bakes » Oddments Great British Bake Off Contestant Wed, 30 Oct 2013 12:44:15 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Spooky Meringues Wed, 30 Oct 2013 12:44:15 +0000 brendan

Brendan's Spooky MeringuesIngredients

  • 4 large, free-range egg whites
  • pinch salt
  • 225g/8ozs caster sugar
  • 1 ½ tablespoons of cornflour. sifted
  • 1 ½  tsps vanilla extract

Preparation method

  1. Preheat the oven to 55C/130F/Gas 1.
  2. Beat the egg whites and salt together in a stand mixer bowl until soft peaks form when the whisk is removed.
  3. Add the sugar one tablespoon at a time, whisking constantly, until all the sugar is incorporated and stiff peaks form when the whisk is removed – allow 3 seconds between each addition
  4. Add the cornflour and vanilla extract and just whisk to combine.
  5. Put a 1 ½cm plain nozzle into a piping bag and fill to ¾ full with the meringue mixture.
  6. Pipe out the ‘spooky’ meringues onto 2 trays lined with non-stick parchment. Leave a ½”/1cm space between each figure – see photo for ideas. Transfer to oven and allow to bake/dry out for at least 4-5 hours, or just them on the low setting overnight to maintain their whiteness.
  7. When cold, pipe mouth shapes onto head area, and in the eye area, or use chocolate chips for the eyes.
  8. Great fun to make with a young audience, or to offer at Halloween trick or treat, or at any time.
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Chicken liver & Bacon Dog Treats Thu, 26 Sep 2013 15:11:14 +0000 brendan

Chicken liver & Bacon Dog TreatsMonty is the first dog I have ever owned. Before we got him two years ago we did some research online about the different dog food brands. What we found was quite shocking – many foods and treats seemed to be packed with nasties of various kinds. We finally found kibble and wet food that seemed to avoid additives and meat from unknown sources. However, finding treats that we could give Monty with confidence was harder. So, that led me to experiment with making my own. These treats contain bacon which some dog owners might wish to avoid due to the salt and fat content. I suggest using lean (not streaky) bacon and draining off much of the fat from cooking. And, as with chocolate cake for humans, these are an occasional treat!


  • 250 grams/8ozs of lean bacon rashers – cut into thick strips – smoked or unsmoked
  • 450g/16ozs chicken livers – cut up roughly
  • 450g/16oz plain flour, or, wholemeal flour  for roughage (or wholemeal spelt if you have it)
  • 150g/6ozs of fine cornmeal
  • 250g chicken stock – wither fresh or made up from bouillon powder


  • 60g of tomato ketchup
  • 1 large egg white

(Whisk the egg white and ketchup together to make a thick glaze, and set aside). Line two baking sheets with non-stick parchment.

Preheat oven to 125C/260F/Gas3


Cook the cut up bacon in a large pan over a medium-high heat till fairly crisp for about 5 minutes.  Remove from the pan and pat with paper towels to remove most of the fat. Keep half of the bacon fat in the pan and add the cut up chicken livers. Fry for 5 minutes or so during which some liver paste will form. Set pan aside to cool slightly.

Put the cooked bacon into a food processor and spin to form a coarse meal. Now add the cooked chicken livers and grind again to form a paste. Next add the fine cornmeal to form a coarse pâté mixture.

Add the flour to form a coarse paste. Finally add the chicken stock that will now give you soft dough.  Take the dough from the processor and knead it to form a smooth ball – about 1 minute of kneading is enough.

Put dough between two sheets of non-stick parchment and roll it out to about 1cm/3/8”.  Then use a small cutter e.g. I use a small square one, but a round one is equally good, or you can buy one in the shape of a dog-bone.  Use up all trimmings and the quantity should give you about 46 treats when divided between the two baking trays.

Bake for 1 ½ hours at the above temperature, and then lower the temperature to 100C/200F and bake for another 2 hours. You are essentially drying out the biscuits. Take them out of the oven and brush them with the tomato ketchup glaze and bake for another 20 minutes.

Allow to cool on a rack and store in an airtight container. I appreciate that this seems like a long baking time, but with the quality of the ingredients, at least you know what is going into the treats, and your doggie will love for you for it.

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Candied Orange Peel with lemon and Lime Tue, 28 May 2013 06:40:02 +0000 brendan

Brendan's Candied Orange Peel with Lemon and LimeThis home-made candied orange peel is far superior to the ‘mixed peel’ found in the supermarkets. Occasionally you can find good quality peel at Christmas time,and in some stores in London throughout the year, but it is easy to make your own. Can be stored in an airtight container for 6-8months.

The recipe for lemon and lime peel is the same, but they need to be made separately. However, the lime peel, which has less pith than the other citrus, only requires 5-6 minutes of cooking.


  • 3 large navel oranges, or 5 large lemons, or 6 large limes.
  • 2 cups of caster sugar
  • ¼ cup of golden syrup
  • 1/3rd cup water.


Step 1

Wash the fruit and cut into 6 segments. Remove the pulp to leave the peel and the white membrane attached. Transfer to medium saucepan. Cover the peel with cold water. Take to boiling point and simmer for 2 minutes. Drain into a sieve and repeat this process 3 times to remove bitterness from the pith. (Do not omit this step as it influences the taste of the finished peel).

Step 2

Having refreshed the peel 3 times, add the sugar, water, and golden syrup to the same saucepan. Bring to the boil over high heat, stirring to help dissolve the sugar. When it reaches the boil, add the peel and reduce heat to medium and boil for 20-25 minutes. The peel will absorb a good deal of the syrup but not all of it.

Step 3

Have ready a cooling rack that you have oiled with a flavourless oil – just run your oiled hand over the wires to help prevent sticking – and transfer the peel to it with a slotted spoon. (Have a tray underneath the rack, or some greaseproof paper, to catch the sugar drips). Allow to dry for up to 3 hours and store in an airtight container for 6-8 months in the fridge.

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Zesty Granola Flapjacks Sat, 23 Feb 2013 14:20:35 +0000 brendan

Brendan's Granola FlapjacksI came up with these flapjacks as a welcome treat for participants on one of my courses at Seasoned cookery school. The original idea came from Georgia, who is a wonderful home economist on the Great British Bake Off. She made a stack of these for us during one of the weekends of filming. I’ve added a few extras including the juice and zest of lemon. You can use all sorts of dried fruits, nuts and seeds, so this is a great way to finish up the contents of all those little bags in your store cupboard. Packed with flavour and nourishing ingredients, these flapjacks will keep you going during a long morning.

Preheat oven to 170C/350 Gas. Grease a swiss roll tin (roughly  33cm X 22cm) with butter.

Wet Ingredients

  • 250 g butter
  • 3 tbls Maple syrup or honey (maple syrup will give extra flavour. Buy the amber coloured one – not the dark caramel one for this recipe). But honey is good too
  • Juice and zest of 2 lemons
  • 200g of light muscovado sugar
  • 1 ½ tsp of vanilla extract

Leaving aside the vanilla extract, melt all the other ingredients together over a low heat. When melted, take off heat and add the vanilla extract.

Dry Ingredients

  • 500g of jumbo oats
  • 500g Fruit/nut mixture of your choice: for example, chopped almonds, pistachios, walnuts or pecans, dessicated coconut, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, sour cherries, cranberries, chopped, dried golden apricots, papaya.

NOTE: There is no need to buy all of the suggested ingredients, but use at least 5 of them for variety and colour. Good for using up bits and pieces left over in bags. But orange (e.g. dried apricots or papaya), green (pistachio or pumpkin seeds), and red (cranberries or cherries) should show through.

Mix wet and dry ingredients together with a wooden spoon and transfer to a greased, rectangular baking tin. Transfer to oven and bake on middle shelf for 25 – 30 minutes. Leave to cool completely in the tin. Measure and cut up into bars with a sharp knife or wheel cutter. Store in an airtight tin. Yum!

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