I have a secret and I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who keeps this quiet. I love baking, but, most of the time it never turns out quite how I envisaged it would. Getting all of a huff in the kitchen when the butter is still too cold, spilling the ingredients even when I’m being extra careful and being super paranoid checking the oven temperature is an awful lot of hard work for something that turns out too flat, not quite right or sinks in the middle. Cakes, I’m looking at you. Frankly, I’ve had enough of aiming for perfection and frowning at anything that dares to come out of the oven less than 100% correct, and if it tastes good who cares if it looks a bit skewiff? Enter my Perfectly Imperfect Chocolate Cake.
It’s February, apologies for stating the obvious. To me, February is the interim month; not as fresh as January when I’m enthusiastic about the New Year and not as good as March when you know that spring has pretty much arrived. So as far as I’m concerned February needs a bit of brightening up to get us all through the cold, grey days. That help can come in many forms; in this case coconut and lime biscuits. This particular flavour combination can transport you to a place of tropical tranquility and for a brief moment you can forget your February woes. *see below
I am a fan of beetroot; I’ve tried many different recipes with them in the past but sometimes when the vegetable box keeps bringing me beetroot I am stuck for what to do. I have made chocolate and beetroot cake in the past and I fancied trying something sweet with my latest accumulation, hence, Beetroot and Poppy Seed Cupcakes. Something a little different and somewhat stripy for the lunchbox.
You will need (for 12 cupcakes):
- 200g self raising flour
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 150g caster sugar
- 2 eggs
- 150ml sunflower oil
- 200g raw beetroot, peeled and grated
- 2 tbsp poppy seeds
- 25g softened butter
- 200g full fat cream cheese
- 300g icing sugar
- 1 tbsp poppy seeds
Preheat the oven to 180C. Squeeze as much water out of the grated beetroot as you can (your hands will turn a fabulous pink colour).
I absolutely love blood oranges for several reasons: firstly they are just so pretty it’s hard not to like them, secondly as they are in season in January they are a welcome citrusy start to the year and thirdly I love squeezing a big bowl full to make my own pink juice. I wanted to make something to show off blood oranges at their best and I’ve fancied my hand at a tart au citron for a while. So I thought a sort of blood orange tart (or tart au blood orange) topped with caramelised blood oranges would be pretty tasty.
It’s a funny time of year now, the days and dates get all a bit confused and everyone is in a state of simultaneous post Christmas relaxation and start of year enthusiasm. I use it as a time to reflect on the last year (of cooking and life in general) and also as a way to think about what I might like to do and try for the upcoming year. Below is a list of my ten favourite recipes from the last 12 months; although of course they are all my favourite these are my extra special favourite ones.
I love cranberries and really try to make the most of them when they are around; they are almost fool proof when it comes to making jams and jellies as they are so full of pectin. This Cranberry and Clementine Crumble is a great way to use cranberries in a different way over the festive period and the addition of Cointreau adds a little something extra. I was asked to come up with a couple of wintry recipes as part of a project with Kenwood. I used one of the new Kenwood Chef Sense machines to test the recipe out at home and then I spent a day filming the recipes! I hope you enjoy it!
I was sent What to Bake and How to Bake It to review and I was really looking forward to having a flick through the pages to see what to bake. I knew it would be a fab book from the quick look I initially had but I wasn’t quite expecting it to be such the joy that it was. The quirky cover makes it stand out amongst the other books on my shelves and I liked the colours and illustrations. There are two key things I noticed about the book which I love: firstly, Jane provides pictures right at the start showing you exactly what butter and sugar look like when perfectly creamed (and if they’re over beaten) amongst other techniques, secondly, she doesn’t assume you have a microwave. I don’t have a microwave and it’s amazing how many cookery books assume you have one (I think I’m in the minority but still!). The book is published by Phaidon and they kindly said I could publish one of the recipes so I tried my hand at the Buttermilk Pound Cake.
It’s #befair fortnight until 12th October which is all about asking the question, “Are we really as fair as we think?”. The Fairtrade Foundation is working to make us aware of small acts of fairness that can make a big change; like switching your morning coffee to a fair trade coffee. The people at the Fairtrade Foundation sent me a variety of coffees to try and I set about making a fair bake. This recipe for chocolate and coffee shortbread uses fair trade chocolate, sugar and coffee.
Hello and welcome to my new website; I hope you enjoy it! To kick things off on my new site it was only right that I baked something; I had to have something to keep me motivated during the changeover! These orange and poppy seed biscuits are a recipe from Cathryn Dresser (former Great British Bake Off contestant) author of Let’s Bake and she has teamed up with Pyrex to create a series of baking recipes for National Baking Week from 13th to 19th October. See below for details of the giveaway to win lots of Pyrex baking goodies in time for October 13th.
IngredientsYou will need (to make nine blondies):
- 200g caster sugar
- 3 eggs
- 200g butter, melted
- 150g plain flour
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 200g white chocolate buttons or chips
- 100g blackcurrants, tops and tails removed
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat an oven to 180C. Grease a 20cm square baking tin then line it with baking paper.
Beat the sugar, eggs and vanilla extract together until light and fluffy then beat in the melted butter. Add the butter a little at a time.
Sieve the flour and baking powder together then tip this into the egg mixture and fold it in lighlty.
Gently fold in the chocolate buttons and blackcurrants and bake for 30-35 minutes or until lightly golden brown but still gooey in the middle.
As it has been so warm recently it did feel a bit odd baking and eating these in the sunshine but they were so good. The soft, squidgy, cakey blondie mix I was really pleased with. The added white chocolate chips, some of which got caramelised in the oven, gave some texture and were a real treat. I loved using the blackcurrants in this as they gave such a distinctive flavour and wonderful colour and turned almost jam like. Next time you get your cake craving I very much recommend you try these.