Lazy Brunch Bacon and Egg Cups

27 December 2014

Lazy Brunch Recipe

One of my favourite things about having time off from work is being able to get into the kitchen. I'm a big fan of brunch/large breakfasts but our weekends are often taken up with errands and we're often much too lazy to cook anything ourselves that is going to create tons of washing up.

The Festive Tag

24 December 2014

I don't usually do these sorts of posts but the lovely Angela from Patisserie Makes Perfect tagged me with some festive questions and since I didn't have much planned for the blog over the next few days I thought I'd put aside my inner scrooge for a while and give it a go.

Favourite Festive Food Of course it has to be something sweet for me, mince pies and lebkuchen. It just wouldn't be Christmas without them.

Blogger Meets and Afternoon Tea at Hotel La Tour, Birmingham

20 December 2014

Last weekend involved a lot of firsts for me. My first time ever in Birmingham (I've changed trains at the train station a few times and I've been to Cadbury World, but I'm pretty sure those don't count), my first ever 'blogger meet up' and my first ever afternoon tea.

We met at Hotel La Tour in Birmingham and as my first ever afternoon tea the food definitely did not disappoint. The first 'course' was a mixture of finger sandwiches which were pretty good as sandwiches go and then welsh rarebit and soldiers. I still don't know what this actually is but it seemed like a really posh cheese on toast and that ticks all my boxes.

Cappuccino Chocolate Mousse with Caffè Latte

16 December 2014

Christmas is the perfect time for desserts. It's the season for indulgence, for 'oh just one more drink' and 'yes I will have another slice of cake thank you'. Recently I was invited to create a Christmas recipe with the Emmi CAFFÈ LATTE drinks and I thought this mousse would be a perfect choice for a holiday party. I'd serve as a luxurious end to a Christmas meal/ dinner party or for something less formal you could create edible cups for some impressive bite sized buffet snacks. It's light, with a very subtle coffee flavour behind the chocolate that will please coffee drinkers without offending the palates of any one else (although you can add extra spices or coffee if you like.)

Spiced Mince Pie Bites

12 December 2014

A couple of weeks ago I got to host my first ever Twitter chat when the lovely people on the #fdbloggers chat bravely left me in charge for a full hour to talk about getting ready for Christmas. Lots of lovely people joined in, including many of my current favourite bloggers, and after the talk was through I proclaimed to my friends I was going to bake all of the Christmas food in existence because I was so excited. I've got a few experiments still going that I'm really hoping to perfect enough to share with you in time for the holidays but first up I decided to tackle a christmas staple, and that I would do it properly this year.

BrewHaus, Lincoln

22 November 2014

Brooklyn Ale

Last week Shradha invited me to join her and a group of other lovely ladies to try out BrewHaus, Lincoln's newest bar and restaurant as part of their press event. The nightlife in Lincoln has come a long way in my four and half years in the city, now with plenty of venues to choose from, all aiming to offer their own unique spin on the bar experience. I was excited to see what BrewHaus would bring to the mix and whether it could compete with any of my current favourite venues and earn a repeat visit.

Carrot Cake Cookies

11 November 2014

Carrot Cake Cookies

A/W is all about comfort food for me. There is nothing better than cosy weekends at home with friends drinking tea, watching films and eating some lovely home baked goods and these are probably some of the cosiest, most comforting biscuits I've ever made. They have a very soft, cakey texture which combined with all the warming spices just makes them taste like a big friendly hug. It's beautifully autumnal.

Orange and Cardamom Madeleines

9 November 2014

Orange Cardamom Madeleines

One of the problems I had during the blogger bake off (other than the serious lack of time and difficulty of recipes) was that it inspired me to make many many trips to the homewares sections of my local department stores to stock up on new and exciting tools to complete the bakes. I wanted to challenge my technical skills and my presentation and this meant I was starting to require some more specialist kit than just a sandwich tin and some pretty cupcake cases. Now this probably doesn't sound like a big issue (other than the obvious toll it took on my bank account) but it led to me ending up with cupboard full of exciting new kitchenware that I just didn't have the time to play with.

When I wanted to make my Rose Madeleines I spent hours deciding on what kind of mould to purchase to give them their beautiful shell patterns but I've barely had a chance to use it since. I love playing with new forms and seeing how different flavours will work together with them so now my little break from cooking is done, I couldn't wait to get in and start experimenting.

Free State Kitchen, Liverpool

4 November 2014

Free state KitchenLet's get this out of the way first: I really don't rate burgers as a food group. Sure I'll eat a charred meat sandwich at a barbecue to fit in, but generally, it's pretty rare I'll order a burger when we eat out. Very occasionally a craving will come but even then I'll usually opt for making something at home rather than heading to the nearest pub. Mostly I can go months without wanting one at all. They just don't excite me. So when I tell you that I took no convincing to make a second visit to Free State Kitchen, you know they must be doing something right. This place takes burgers to a whole other level.

The Little Macaron Shop and Lucha Libre, Liverpool

26 October 2014

Macarons and MaclairsOur recent trip to Liverpool was probably one of my favourite in a while. Being Dave's home town, it's a trip we make pretty regularly but this time we had no commitments or appointments to keep and were free to relax, enjoy the sites and mostly, enjoy the food.

We got the weekend off to a pretty amazing start with a breakfast entirely of desserts at The Little Macaron Shop (who were lovely and complimentary and encouraging about my Bootleg Maclairs recipe which was very kind of them, even though the originals were so much better). I actually can't say enough good things about this place, it's only a small shop cafe but filled with character and the passion that Ste has for the food definitely shows in every inch of the place. There was quite a large group of us this time we so we got one of every dessert in the shop to try between us, it seemed rude not to really. This included white chocolate maclairs, four different flavours of macaron (including lime and salted caramel) and chocolate mousse. It was probably the greatest breakfast I've ever eaten and it put The Little Macaron Shop right to the top of my places I'd recommend to eat in Liverpool list. 

Thai Red Chicken Curry

21 October 2014

Thai Red Chicken Curry RecipeSo I'm taking a little break from baking following the end of the Great Blogger Bake Off. Partly because the new job, finishing up some other work and preparing to move again is keeping me rather busy and partly because I was getting a bit burnt out with the cooking and my friends were getting very burnt out with all the eating. I'll still be posting over the next few weeks, I've got lots of fantastic places to review following our trip to Liverpool (and if you follow me on Twitter you'll know I might have already cheated on my baking break a little so that's coming too). First though, here is a guest recipe from the amazing Shradha who is my go to for advice on all Asian and Indian cuisine. She has more recipes along with some great lifestyle posts over on her blog here so go and check it out if you can.

Thai is one of my favourite cuisines to cook and eat. It’s flavourful, subtle and pretty darn easy to make as long as you have the right ingredients. This chicken red curry recipe is one that I’ve made up myself just from taste. I’ve eaten at various restaurants and taken my favourite elements of each variation and made it my own.

Chilli Chai and Chocolate Bites

14 October 2014

This recipe marks not only the end of my set of Autumnal Petit Fours but the end of my recipes for The Great Blogger Bake Off. I'm already feeling sad at the thought of not seeing everyone's bakes in my feed tomorrow, or being able to watch the show tomorrow night.

As I mentioned earlier on, I really wanted to (finally) embrace some more suitable flavours for the season with these bakes. Regular readers will already know that I am completely obsessed with chai and on our trip to Liverpool last weekend (more on that very soon) I picked up a new tin of chai so I just couldn't resist working it into one of the petit four recipes. In the last couple of weeks I've also gotten a little obsessed with dark chocolate because I've fully bought into the hype that it is healthier than milk chocolate (and am taking this as a reason to eat even more of it!) and here the two seem to have made a perfect match. The chai I used was quite sweet compared to my previous favourite from Waterloo Tea and the bitterness of the dark chocolate paired with the little kick of the chilli flakes were a perfect match.

Mini Rhubarb Meringue Pies

12 October 2014

Autumn Petit Fours Recipes

I've been wanting to cook with rhubarb for a few weeks now. Ever since the weather finally started to change my head has been filled with dreams of winter recipes, warming crumbles and cosy afternoons at home with a cup of tea. These mini rhubarb meringue pies would be great for entertaining this autumn or just for a cheeky after dinner treat on a cold night in. They're very easy to throw together and if you're going to be in a hurry the day you need them then simply make the curd a few days earlier and store it in the fridge.

Petit Fours - Miniature Damson Gin Cakes

9 October 2014

So the Great British Bake Off is drawing to a close and this week we've all been working on our final Blogger Bake Off recipes. It's going to feel quite odd not having a challenge to cook to every week. I'm sure my friends are going to be pretty upset with me when next Wednesday rolls around and they aren't invited over to be guinea pigs for a taste testing (there will be more cake of course, just maybe not every week!)

I decided to try and challenge myself this week with some petit fours. I'd have never have really thought to try and make them at home before, probably because I didn't really understand the point of them (did anyone else stupidly misunderstand the name and think there had to be four of them? no? just me? okay moving on...) but you all know how much I love miniature food and it seemed a good chance to continue practising my presentation skills. This recipe is for my miniature Damson Gin Sponge Cakes, I wanted to stick with quite warming, autumnal flavours this week so I also made Chai, Chilli and Chocolate cakes, and Rhubarb Meringue Pies, and will be sharing the recipes for those over the next couple of days.

The Bay Horse, Manchester

6 October 2014

Lamb Stew Pie from the Bay Horse Pub

Blueberry Mille-Feuille

1 October 2014

Blueberry Mille Feuille

After seeing some incredible things on the blogosphere and on my television so far during this series of The Great British Bake Off, I wasn't really sure how I was going to manage patisserie week. Given how hit and miss the last few challenges have gone, this time I decided to keep it simple with these dainty french pastries. 

Flaky pastry topped with layers of blueberries, crème pâtissière and icing, these blueberry mille-feuille would look perfect on the table at any afternoon tea. I did cheat with some ready to roll puff pastry this week but even so they were surprisingly easy to put together - the hardest part was trying to find an even slightly graceful way to eat them, if anyone knows the trick to this please let me know because I don't think a face and hands covered in creme patisserie and blueberry stains was my best look! They were well worth the trouble though and definitely something I'll be trying some more flavours of in future. I might even brave homemade pastry next time.

Don't forget to check out #TheGreatBloggerBakeOff on Facebook (we're now on Pinterest too) for all our recipes.

Blueberry Mille FeuilleBlueberries and Creme Patisserie

Blueberry Mille Feuille

Blueberry Mille-Feuille Recipe
1 packet of puff pastry
5 tbsp of icing sugar
Blue gel food colouring
100g blueberries

Crème Pâtissière
4 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
300ml milk
4 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp plain flour

To make the crème pâtissière start by beating together the eggs, sugar, flour and vanilla. Heat the milk in a saucepan until its just about to boil then remove from the heat and stir in the egg mix. Return the hob on a medium heat and stir until it thickens and boils. Pour the thickened mixture into a bowl and cover with cling film (push some of the film down on the surface on the cream to stop a skin from forming). 

Sprinkle a teaspoon of icing sugar over both sides of the pastry and then gently dot with holes using a fork (this will help stop it from rising too much in the oven). Bake at around 200c for 10 minutes or as per the instructions on the packet and then set aside to cool.

Once your pastry has cooled, cut into three strips. On the first strip spread half the crème pâtissière and then top with chopped blueberries. Stack the next layer of pastry and repeat with the rest of the blueberries and cream. Mix the icing with 3-4 teaspoons of cold water and spread onto the last layer of pastry (this will probably be easier to do before you stack them!) then use the food colouring to draw on any patterns you like before stacking on top of the other layers to create your finished mille feuille. Cut into slices with a sharp knife and serve.

Blueberry Mille Feuille

DoughNOTs (or my first experience with blogger burnout)

24 September 2014

I'm sorry to say that I do not have a recipe for #TheGreatBloggerBakeOff this week. The theme was advanced dough and I decided to try something I'd been wanting to do for a while and make doughnuts. The main problem with this was I'm terrified of hot oil so had to pick a baked doughnut recipe that didn't use a special tin because I was short on time and this was all despite my extreme skepticism that baked doughnuts could even work in the first place.

I don't know if there was a problem in the recipe I chose, a problem with our oven or that we were just having a bit of an off day but it ended up a complete disaster. I'd prepared a delicious filling and topping all ready for the doughnuts to do their thing but they didn't rise at all in the oven despite being fine on both proves and the dough turned crispy and flaky on the outside whilst not baking at all in the middle. I was a little bit crushed.

Life has been pretty crazy recently and despite really needing some time to focus on other projects alongside Dave and I being quite ill this week and really needing time to rest, I didn't want to give up on the challenges. I realise that my views are still extremely low by most peoples standards and that 99% of them still probably come from my mum but over the past few months of actually using my blog I've had so many welcoming and encouraging people leave comments or talk to me on twitter and instagram and to not see the challenge through really felt like letting everyone down. And as someone who is notorious for starting projects and hobbies and not following them through, it really felt like letting myself down too.

But sometimes things just go wrong. What you don't see on our blogs is the weeks of soggy bottoms and burnt edges that it can take to get a recipe right. You don't see all the blurry photos with the bad lighting, we don't write up all the bad days and the trips that we didn't like. But things do to wrong. We aren't walking pinterest boards (or I'm not at least).

Anyway, that's probably enough feeling sorry for myself so now I'll let you all be the judge of my dough-nots.

All going well.

Delicious balls of dough.

Not doughnuts. Definitely positively not even close to doughnuts.

So there we go.

Luckily, because this isn't the real bake off I still get to come back next week. In the mean time don't forget you can find all the other recipes here.

Gooey Double Chocolate Cookies

21 September 2014

If you live in the UK you'll probably be quite aware of, or even have participated in the Macmillan World's Biggest Coffee Mornings. Every year they pick a date and people all over the country bring tea, coffee and delicious baked goods all in the name of raising money for charity. I love the event because it's so simple, taking something that many people do every week - having coffee with friends - and putting it to a good cause. Unfortunately, I struggle to make the actual coffee morning because it usually clashes with my work schedule so when I saw that Food Nerd was inviting bloggers to join her in a virtual bake sale I was so excited to be able to to join in.

I'm donating this recipe for gooey chocolate cookies. They're deliciously soft, chewy and packed full of chocolate. They're also really quick and easy to make so perfect if you need a recipe for taking a long to a local bake sale or coffee morning of your own.

If you'd like to show your support for Macmillan and the virtual bake sale, here are the instructions:

1) Choose a recipe (it can be anything you like, it doesn't have to be a sweet recipe) and upload it to your blog, mentioning the bake sale.
3) Visit FoodNerds blog page so you can add your recipe to the linkup and everyone else can see what you've shared.
2) Head to the justgiving page and donate the cost of your ingredients to Macmillan.

If you aren't into cooking, you can still go to the page and donate or click here to find a coffee morning near to you on September 26th or details on how to host your own.

250g plain flour
1 tbsp cocoa powder
175g butter
1/2 tsp baking powder
100g plain chocolate
100g white chocolate
1 egg
1 egg yolk
200g brown sugar
100g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Start by creaming together the butter and sugar and then beat in the vanilla, egg and egg yolk until  creamy and well combined. Sift in the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder. Chop the chocolate into small chunks and stir into your mixture.

Roll into small balls (it should make about 14) and lightly press onto a lined baking tray then bake at 170c for 12-14 minutes. They should still be quite soft so leave them to cool down on the paper for a few minutes before moving to a wire cooling rack. 

Earl Grey and Rose 'Bootleg Maclairs'

17 September 2014

Earl Grey and Rose Maclairs 

You might remember that back in June I finally made a pilgrimage to The Little Macaron Shop in Liverpool in search of my first ever macarons and their magical sounding 'maclairs'. I literally haven't stopped thinking about these ever since, it was love at first sight. But sadly living on the other side of the country has meant I haven't been able to revisit these desserts so this week for pastry week, despite having never made macarons or eclairs, I decided to finally make my own. 

Lincoln Chilli Fiesta

15 September 2014

You might have noticed from the themes of my savoury bakes that we're big fans of 'spicy' food. Dave in particular could eat mountains of chilli. Our go to dinner recipes are almost all mexican inspired. We can get crazy curry cravings that just no other food will satisfy. So when we heard about the Lincoln Chilli Fiesta last weekend our little faces lit up like it was Christmas morning.

They filled St Mark's Square with stalls where we sampled a range of chilli sauces, jams, cooking sauces, drinks and other such delights. We went pretty early because we were very very excited so we missed the afternoon chilli eating contest but we still had a very lovely time sampling and shopping.

Sweet Heat Chilli Dips

Rose Madeleines

10 September 2014

Rose Madeleines

It's European Cakes week in the tent and once again an eager group of bloggers are setting out to create their own showstoppers for you lovely readers. I won't lie, I had no idea where to start with this one.

I've never actually been to Europe (unless you count Disneyland or are being pedantic and bringing up that we in the UK are technically part of Europe but I decided I'd at least try and do the challenge properly.) So my knowledge of 'foreign' food isn't exactly great but my knowledge of the internet is pretty darn good and one of the super trendy cakes on the internet this year has been the french "cake cookie hybrid" - madeleines.

Thinking they were just regular cakes shaped like pretty seashells (and what woman doesn't want to make shell cakes so she can pretend to be a mermaid for the afternoon?), I'd had these on my mental 'to bake' list for a while now. After researching them for this week's bake I realised they weren't quite as easy as I'd first thought but the lovely Angela gave me some advice (check out her post on madeleines here for a much more in depth guide and a more traditional/challenging recipe) and I picked a very simple recipe with only a few alterations to make for my first go.

Summer Home and Kitchen Favourites

5 September 2014

Waitrose Fruit Cup, Paperchase Rolling Pin and BHS Glasses

Over the past few months I've become a complete home/kitchenware junkie. I can't seem to go anywhere without buying something new (despite still not having unpacked fully from the last time I moved, two months ago).  Since moving out of home, I've loved shopping for homewares. In student/rented accommodation you can't decorate so I've found that little touches like candles, photographs and nice mugs for your morning cuppa can make a really big difference in making your surroundings feel more homely.

Peach Iced Tea Tart

3 September 2014

I'm going to start out this post with complete honesty - pie week broke me a little. I had a bit of an Iain style strop halfway through and walked out of the kitchen. It wasn't pretty. You very nearly got a photo of our kitchen bin today instead of a post. I did eventually manage to figure out my many, many mistakes and the post was back on, but one of my favourite things about watching The Great British Bake Off is actually seeing their mistakes and hearing why they happened so that I can learn and improve my own baking so mortifying as it is (food bloggers put a lot of pressure on ourselves to present you with only the best) I'm going to share with you some of the ways this bake went wrong for me the first time and how to do it the right way. So, pies and tarts week here we go...

I've only ever made pies once before and it all went incredibly smoothly considering my lack of experience. Perfectly crispy pastry, no burns, no soggy bottoms, tasty filling - mince pies you were the perfect first bake. So partly out of my complete misunderstanding of how bloody difficult pie and tart week really would be and partly out of wanting to capture the spirit of the show and really challenge myself, I wanted to try something a little trickier technically this week because I am naive and foolish. It all turned out okay in the end though - enter the Peach Iced Tea Tart. 

For about the last fortnight I've been completely obsessed with Peach Iced Tea. Probably because it's about to be winter and so is the worst time to be obsessed with a drink that's made of ice but also probably because I'm finding it impossible to make at home and of course the more I can't get hold of it, the more I crave. So after looking at several recipes for peach tarts online ahead of this weeks The Great Blogger Bake Off, I decided the addition of some traditional breakfast tea flavours would be a perfect way to get this flavour combination at home in the colder weather.

I've adapted this from a few other recipes to make small, single serving tarts (a very generous serving though!) because that's the only way it would work for me. It should make at least 4, so enough for a dinner party or for several treats to yourself.

Don't forget to check out the rest of the Blogger Bake Off bakes here, I've been really enjoying seeing all the other bakes and reading your comments about what you've been inspired to create during this series. This week I'd also love to hear about your baking disasters so leave a comment and let me if you've been joining in with pie week and which bakes got the better of you!

Peach Iced Tea Tart

Sherbert Cupcakes

30 August 2014

Orange and Lemon Sherbert Cupcakes

These cupcakes were the result of some quick thinking and some very late night baking this week. Next week I'm going to be moving again and changing jobs again and I wanted to make one last treat for the people I've been working with all summer because they've been incredibly kind to me over the past couple of months. 

I haven't made cupcakes in a while but they're much easier to share around an office than a large cake that requires slicing and napkins. It also seemed like a good chance to brave a piping bag again and I'll admit they still aren't masterpieces in the icing category but I think they've definitely gone better than my last attempt.

With subtle lemon and orange flavours and sprinkled with fizzy sherbert, these cupcakes are light, fruity and with just a touch of whimsy - perfect for helping you cling on to the last few days of summer, whatever the weather.

Salted Caramel Tiramisu

27 August 2014

Best Tiramisu Recipe

So it's dessert week on the Bake Off (which basically makes it national dessert week as far as I'm ceoncerned) and I love love love dessert. I'm one of those people who can always find room for pudding and have been known to go out for food and skip the main course entirely just to have an enormous dessert all to myself (although some restaurants seem to get extremely annoyed when I skip straight to the dessert menu, they will let you do it). To say I'm excited about dessert week would definitely be an understatement.

I don't actually make showstopping desserts very often at home (although who does, really?) and usually stick to cupcakes but I was excited to have a go this week. I was worried about not creating something different enough to my usual cake recipes so asked a few people when a cake becomes a dessert and the best answer came from my mother who informed me that "if you eat it with a spoon, it's dessert but if you eat it with a fork then it's cake." Wise words mum.

Chorizo and Potato Bake

25 August 2014

A few weeks ago I shared with you my recipe for chorizo and pesto scones and since then I've been looking for more ways to use some of those ingredients. Chorizo is one of those foods I can forget about completely for months at a time but then when I remember it again I just want to use it in everything - does anyone else get obsessed with singular ingredients or is it just me? Anyway, this recipe was another that came from just guessing at things when we wanted something a little different to eat for dinner but that came out so well I just had to share it with you.

It's incredibly warming and comforting which is great now to weather is starting to turn and would make a perfect side dish or starter for entertaining friends in a more casual setting like a barbecue or as a snack for a cosy movie night. It's also really easy and fairly quick in the sense that most of the cooking time is just baking so you can get on with other things - a definite winner.

(serves 4 as a side or 2 as a main)
150g finely diced chorizo
1 large pepper, finely chopped
1 large potato, cubed
1/2 onion, diced
1 teaspoon chilli powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon coriander
A pinch of salt
1 packet of tortilla chips (to serve)

Start by bringing a saucepan of salted water to boil and then adding in your potato, boil for about 10 minutes or until soft then drain and set aside. 

In a large frying pan, gently fry the onion then add the peppers and chorizo and heat for 2-3 minutes. Stir in the seasonings and potato cubes and warm through for a further couple of minutes before transferring to a large dish. 

Bake at 200C for around half an hour and serve with tortilla chips for dipping.

Sundried Tomato and Feta Bread

20 August 2014

Sundried Tomato and Feta Bread

It’s week 3 (although only the second one for me) of this years Great British Bake Off and this week the contestants will be making bread. Bread. With like, yeast, and things. I can’t be the only blogger whose heart sank when they revealed that, can I? I don’t know the first thing about making bread. I only mastered pizza dough a few months ago and if that went wrong you could probably hide it with cheese…

I was just about to rush out and buy a bread maker but I thought I should probably see this as an opportunity to get over one of my biggest kitchen fears and actually make some bread from scratch. I’ve started with a pretty simple loaf combining some of my favourite summer flavours, sundried tomatoes and feta cheese. The salty feta is so nice against the sweetness of the tomatoes and it makes a nice alternative to a plain loaf. 

My recipe below is based on this one from Paul Hollywood - I thought since he is basically the king of bread that I wouldn’t be able to go very far wrong and that seems to have been a good decision. While my first loaf was a little doughy in the middle from being removed too early from the oven, the second was undeniably a loaf of bread. I was probably more surprised and excited by this than I should have been considering its just a loaf of bread but there we go. If I can do it then anyone can.

I’m really excited to see what they make on the show this week considering their limited time and how much time can be spent proving to get a good loaf of bread. This recipe took about 3 hours and it's not going to win any beauty contests (although it is delicious) so I’m expecting it’s going to be a pretty tough week in the tent! In the meantime though, my recipe for feta and sundered tomato bread is below and you can find all of the recipes for #TheGreatBloggerBakeOff here.

Sundried Tomato and Feta Bread Recipe Ingredients

500g strong flour
150g feta cheese
50g sundried tomatoes
15g salt
1 1/2 tsp fast acting yeast 
275ml water
55ml olive oil
1/2 sprig of fresh rosemary

Start by mixing the bread, yeast, salt, water and oil together until they combine and form a dough. Knead for about 5-10 minutes then cover and set aside for an hour to rise. 

Take some kitchen and roll and try and pat as much liquid from the tomatoes and feta as you can and then chop them into small chunks along with the rosemary. Once the dough has risen, lightly flour a countertop and then knead some more, working in your other ingredients and some more flour. Cut the dough in half and shape each half into a ball to make two round loaves. Press these down onto a sheet of baking paper and place somewhere warm for another hour to prove. 

Bake your loaves at 220C for around 30 minutes, they should be nicely browned by this point! You should really then put them on a rack to cool down but we got impatient and ate ours right away while it was still warm and I'd definitely recommend it like that.

Fresh bread is such a surprisingly simple thing to do but so incredibly rewarding, I'm pretty glad I finally got over my fear of it for this challenge because I might be brave enough to make it much more often now. What will you be cooking during the bake off this week?

Chocolate and Marshmallow Cake

17 August 2014

I've been reliably informed by friends and bloggers who are much cooler than I am that marshmallows are having a serious moment right now. Well they've actually said smores are having a moment but as a brit smores are a little lost on me so this is the best I could do.

Earlier this week I made Chai Biscuits with Toasted Marshmallow Filling for #TheGreatBloggerBakeOff but what I left out of the recipe was the fact that I'd originally hugely misjudged my icing quantities and ended up with a bowl full of unused buttercream. Not wanting it to go to waste, I threw together a quick and easy chocolate cake to treat everyone in the office. I wasn't originally going to post it (hence the limited photos, sorry!) but it was so delicious and so incredibly easy to make that I had to share it with you.

It's a really simple chocolate sponge filled with the marshmallow buttercream and topped with a chocolate ganache. The end result isn't going to win any beauty contests (I know, I really do need to work on my decorating for you lovely readers) but it's fantastically gooey and full of flavour.

I try and make sure all my recipes are not only tasty but really achievable for you, without too many fussy ingredients or complicated instructions, and this cake definitely fits that bill while still sounding (and tasting) pretty impressive for guests or co-workers.

Chocolate and Marshmallow Buttercream Cake Recipe

Chai Sandwich Biscuits With Toasted Marshallow Filling

13 August 2014

Chai Sandwich Biscuits with Toasted Marshmallow Buttercream Recipe

I used to hate cooking programmes, they just seemed like a place for famous chefs to show off and for amateurs to have their dreams crushed, and they only used obscure ingredients that you'd never dream of using at home. I'm not saying there isn't a place for fine cuisine but its not doing anything to help people rediscover their kitchens and the amount of people I meet (especially in my age group) who struggle to even make themselves a simple pasta dish makes me feel pretty sad. So when programmes like The Great British Bake Off come along, that really just focus on a love of food, and help educate you a little along the way, I fall completely in love. The show inspires thousands of people across the country to start baking and I always learn new tricks and pick up some great recipe inspiration.

So when I saw that this year the amazing Laura at I Love Crafty was inviting bloggers to join her for #TheGreatBloggerBakeOff I was so excited to be able to get involved, even if I was a little late. Every Wednesday we'll be posting our own recipes to accompany the show, for week 2 the theme is biscuits, and you can follow all of our progress on the Facebook page or by searching for #thegreatbloggerbakeoff on any other social media.

Heston's Fruit Cup

11 August 2014

Hestons Fruit Cup Bottle and Cocktail

Last Summer was an important one in my life for many reasons. I finished university, moved into my first 'proper' flat, started my first 'proper' job and spent lots of warm summer days and nights with some incredible people. What I mostly remember about last summer though is Pimms. Lots and lot of Pimms. So to say I was excited when I heard that for this summer Heston Blumenthal had released his very own fruit cup for Waitrose (based on the incredible Earl Grey gin he created for the supermarket last year) would be an enormous understatement.

Mini Chorizo and Pesto Scones

1 August 2014

Chorizo and Pesto Scones Recipe

I've never been so in love with a piece of bakeware as when I bought my miniature muffin tray back at Christmas for my mince pies. I insisted I would be cooking everything in miniatures - other baking trays would never meet my oven again - but then once the excitement of the holidays passed, it lay forgotten at the back of a cupboard and my attention strayed elsewhere. Until this week, when I finally started unpacking my enormous box of baking supplies and we were gleefully reunited.

In a bid to get my co-workers to calm down asking for samples of my baked goods (every day for three weeks, really guys? are you really that hungry?) I created this recipe for miniature scones because mini = more to share! The reactions were pretty good (I won't repeat them here though. Expletives were used) and I think they'd make really cute snacks to take to a picnic or summer barbecue so they're definitely something I'll be making again. You probably aren't supposed to make scones in a muffin tray (and yes, I realise I've used them for everything but muffins so far) but when I saw how adorable they looked I decided to let myself off the hook for that one.

The Liebster Award

26 July 2014

I've been trying to make more of an effort recently to engage with the blogging community. I was already reading quite a lot of blogs and learning and getting so much inspiration from them but as a naturally shy person with a very small and new blog to show I was too scared to really speak to people. So when the lovely Ellie nominated me for the Liebster Award I was pretty excited to get involved. I don't usually do tag posts or anything like this but I did a little research into it and it seems like a fantastic way for bloggers to get to know each other better and strike up conversations.

Pirate Ship Cake

23 July 2014

Pirate Ship Birthday Chocolate Cake

It’s unpopular opinion time here on Hannah Bakes Things: I don’t like decorated cakes. Okay, before food bloggers everywhere start hunting me down with torches, I don’t mean all decorated cakes, just the ones with silly characters made from more fondant or royal icing than there is cake. I just don't go in for that at all. I’d much rather have a really tasty treat than a bland sponge cake with diabetes inducing amounts of sugar on top in the shape of a cartoon character. But then this week I had to make good on my months old (and very naive) promise of a cake for my 4 year old brothers birthday party and a compromise had to be found.

Summer Pizza

16 July 2014

As many of my friends and family already know, at the end of June, my first graduate job came to an end and I found myself facing a long stretch of, well, nothing. Or so I thought. Long summer days for sleeping, baking, job hunting and not having to do much else actually didn't sound too bad. Then I found myself moving house, start a new job (and some freelance work) and trying to keep up with other personal commitments and all that time in the kitchen just sort of vanished - I was completely out of time or energy to interact with the blogging world at all. But I'm pretty much back now (or at least I hope so) and while I was gone I somehow seem to have reached 50 followers on bloglovin which I know isn't massive but was a pretty big milestone for me (and is an insane amount of people to be reading my ramblings about food!) and has been helping motivate me to get back to my keyboard as soon as possible. I promise more cakes and sweet treats are coming soon but in the meantime, I wanted to share another savoury dish.

Maclairs and The Little Macaron Shop

25 June 2014

Ever since I first heard the word 'cronut' I've been desperate to try something from the hybrid foods craze. So when I heard about the 'Maclairs', a British original and available from somewhere we regularly visit - Liverpool, on Channel 4's Sunday Brunch a few months I was desperate to go.

This weekend we finally made the pilgrimage and it was well worth the wait.
Maclairs from the little macaron shop
I've always found eclairs a little bit of a disappointing dessert. It just always felt like something was missing. It turns out that something was a wonderfully chewy macaron topping. They are incredible.

When we visited, they were serving peanut butter and jelly maclairs which consisted of a pastry base topped with peanut butter, cream and a flavoured macaron. It was the stuff of dreams. I'm not even a big fan of peanut butter and I still thought they were delicious.

While we were in the shop (which is adorable and tiny and has lovely friendly staff) we also tried the macarons of the day which were lemon flavoured and equally as magical.

I've heard rumours of a maclair cookbook being on the horizon but in the meantime I'm definitely going to be trying to find a way to recreate these at home. Any tips, recipe suggestions or advice on making macarons (I've never tried before) would be greatly welcome as I'm absolutely obsessed with the idea! And if anyone knows where I can find some more UK hybrid foods please let me know that as well!

English Breakfast Muffins

18 June 2014

I am the worst at eating breakfast, I usually forget to eat it entirely and then scoff a mars bar at my desk when the 10am hunger pangs arrive. I'm also really bad at remembering to eat fruit or anything else even close to good for my body unless its disguised inside some sort of cake or other dessert but when I saw all the delicious fresh summery fruits on display on a recent shopping trip, I was determined to change. And so, my breakfast muffins were born. They aren't exactly the healthiest thing you could have for breakfast but if you were concerned with calorie counting you probably wouldn't be on this blog in the first place and I figure I've got to start somewhere...

Based on the Chai muffins I made a while back, I wanted to experiment cooking with some different flavours and fruits and I couldn't think of a better edition to some blueberry breakfast muffins than English Breakfast tea! I used this Twinnings English Breakfast loose leaf and it turned out really well but I'd love to know how they are with other blends so don't forget to comment if you make them. I think they'd also be really nice (and have more of a breakfast feel) with some oats scattered across the top but I haven't been able to have a go yet. If anyone has tried anything similar please let me know how it went!

Rhubarb Gin and Tonic

8 June 2014

I've been meaning to write some cocktail and drinks related posts for some time now and with World Gin Day coming up next weekend, I couldn't think of a better reason to start.

As anyone who has ever been stuck in a pub with me knows, I am incredibly fussy when it comes to alcoholic drinks. I usually end up the boring one with a lemonade because there's nothing I like behind the bar. Gin is usually my drink of choice, I think it has a certain sophistication to it, but more importantly, its very versatile. You can do so much more with this drink than just a simple gin and tonic and you don't need to be a mixologist.

Rhubard Gin Cocktail with IKEA syrup

Coconut and Double Chocolate Cheesecake

26 May 2014

Coconut and Double Chocolate Cheesecake Recipe

You may remember several months ago when I promised the reason for my lack of blog posts was because I was working on some exciting things for you? Well this is one of those exciting things.

Easy Chicken and Lime Enchiladas

11 May 2014

Chicken and Lime Enchiladas

Several months ago, I made enchiladas for friends on one of our 'girls' nights in. In the weeks that followed of being repeatedly asked to either make them again or hand over the recipe, I, of course lost the recipe. So every time making enchiladas since has been guess work based on what little I remember from the original dish (this seems to be a recurring theme for my blog posts now - the quest for the perfect apple crumble loaf has still not been fulfilled).

Dave and I are huge fans of mexican inspired food so luckily no-one was arguing when I wanted to make a few batches of this to get it right and I'm pretty pleased with them now. It's very simple to make, doesn't require you to buy anything unusual or complicated and is incredibly filling, making it brilliant comfort food.

Boozy Easter Buns

21 April 2014

Boozy Rum Filled Easter Hot Cross Buns

The sun has been shining more recently - I bought new sunglasses, I've been out without a coat, and I've even been (slowly) starting to swap all my winter comfort foods for healthier salads and fruits. Then Easter came and dreams of summer became dreams of chocolate, sweets and sticky hot cross buns. 

Orange and Apricot Flapjack

11 March 2014

Orange, Apricot and Ginger Flapjack Recipe

My not-quite-a-new-years-resolution to blog more seems so far to have been pretty unsuccessful. So we'd probably better start with an apology for that - although it isn't entirely my fault, I swear. I have been working on a few things that I am very excited to share with you but they just aren't ready yet. I've also got a broken laptop right now (wine and electronics do not make good friends) so finding chances to blog has been a little tricky.

This one is a very simple recipe that I assembled recently, my orange and apricot flapjack. A few weeks ago, a friend at work told me (and the rest of the office) of a flapjack recipe I 'had to try'. A secret to flapjack that could beat all other flapjacks. Whilst I never did get the full recipe from her, I managed to extract her secret ingredient and with a road trip on the cards for the weekend I was ready to give flapjack a go.

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