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

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