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

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