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.

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