17 September 2011

Mini Bakewell Tarts

I'm not really sure how to go about this post. I have not been baking or posting as much as I would like recently and there are a few reasons for this which I feel I should probably share with you lovely people that for some reason continue to delight me with your presence on my blog :)

Earlier this year, a few months before I started food blogging, my Dad very sadly passed away. He had had a lot of heart attacks in the past (11 in fact, he was a walking miracle!) but since a triple by-pass in 1998 he seemed to be absolutely fine. On the 9th February this year, my Mum and her partner turned up on my doorstep in University just before midnight, sat me down, and told me that he had been found at his home on the sofa, with his newspaper in hand (he always did the daily cryptic crossword, my Mum still has the paper from the day of my birth and he somehow managed to complete it whilst she was in labour!) and my little sausage dog Penny rather anxiously by his side. He had suffered a massive heart attack and most likely knew nothing about it, the only comfort really is that if he could have chosen that is probably how he would have wanted to go, content and at home. It has taken some time to sink in, well in all honesty I don't think it truly has yet. He left me as a main executor of his will so recently I have been rather busy dealing with a lot of legal stuff that mostly goes over my head in all honesty! We unfortunately have no option but to part with the house, so I have had to learn rather fast about equity releases, mortgages, solicitors/estate agents and their fees (greedy bums.) etc and this means I have had a lot less time to do what has been my distraction, rather successfully!, for the past few months - baking of course :)

12 September 2011

Brandy Snaps

Brandy Snap's - they are an absolute classic and I truly believe they are a great last minute dessert to master that can be whipped up faster than any other cookie with only one dirty saucepan, a lazy bakers dream :) They can be customised to your hearts desire and, although it admittedly took me pretty much until my last batch to perfect the method, now I know the tricks they really are soooooo very easy to make. We ate them ALL the day I made them, so I made another batch the morning after as we are greedy Welshies and second time round, now I knew what I was doing, resulted in 15 uniform tubes (much better than my first go which resulted in 3 pretty ones, 4 passable ones, 3 slightly fat rejects, 1 pretty cup, 1 reject cup and 3 that we just should talk about) 
In all seriousness, if you have shied away from trying them before now I assure you, they are so much fun and you can definitely make these!

Oh yes, and they are SO VERY ADDICTIVE :)

9 September 2011

Cheese, Ham and Olive Bread

Quick bread, what a magical thing it is! You can whip up a loaf in just the same amount of time it takes to make the simplest of sponge's and hey presto, 40-odd minutes later you have something that looks and tastes far more complicated and impressive than it really is! I have had a really major urge to do some bread baking lately and, although I reallyreally want to do some yeast work soon, my urge had to be satisfied there and then so quick bread to the rescue! In particular I wanted a loaf stufffeedd full of savoury bits 'n bobs, I was playing with the idea of different additions, especially caramelised onions and bacon (mmm), basically anything imaginable that could be shoved in a bowl of eggy mix and baked to create an all in one meal!

And that is what this is in essence, an all in one snack loaf that is great for that much needed energy boost around 11am and 4pm (or is this only me...I simply MUST have a mini-meal around these times, probably just being greedy!) I didn't need to fiddle much with the original recipe in the end to have exactly what I was craving :)

5 September 2011

Cookies and Cream Cookies

I swear I have 2 people living in my brain, or little food gremlins if not people, one that has an insatiable sweet tooth and one that is a sugar allergic diabetic. Or maybe i'm just incredibly indecisive, both are realistic possibilities. In the case of these cookies, upon first bite my sugar hating gremlin decided that these were not the cookies for me. They seemed a bit too sweet, as if the overall taste was simply a plain sugar cookie and slightly letting down my, admittedly rather high, expectations. After that first cookie (emphasis on first) my alter-ego gremlin wouldn't let me rest until I had 'sampled' another..and another..I had 6 cookies the day I made these, embarrassing but true, SIX. That shouldn't be legal, and my dentist may have a few stern words to share with my tooth-rotting gremlin when I see him later today..

Even if these cookies did not quite fulfil my initial expectations, they went down a total storm in my house. My Mum is pretty hard to please as far as cookies go and after the beginning few munches exclaimed 'mmmm, they are just so LIGHT!' A weird adjective to choose I thought, but after pondering about it she has a point, it's far too easy to go back to the cookie jar multiple times without realising and the texture...oh what a hard one to describe! They are soft and slightly chewy, the Oreo pieces soften upon cooking but retain a slight crunch to create little pockets of texture throughout. Yeah, it's safe to say these grew on me and were horrifically addicting. Make at your own risk!

3 September 2011

Dark Chocolate Guinness Cake with Bailey's Buttercream aka My Birthday Cake!

Can anything sound any more Irish than that right there? Can anything sound any more GORGEOUS! Ok maybe the Irish accent literally sounds more gorgeous - any tall, dark handsome lad with an Irish twang and I'm putty in their hunky hands. As soon as I saw this cake on the absolutely unique and wonderful blog Global Table Adventure I knew I was going to make it. And when is more suitable to have a booze-laden cake than for a 20th birthday :) Gosh...20...that's an age which just say's 'responsibility begins now' and I'm not sure Im suitable for the job!

Above is the AWESOME present my wonderful Mum got me, yes that is the prettiest most beautifully made cake stand that ever did exist (maybe a little biased..) and yes she does know me very well indeed! Below is the all-important cutting of the cake and making a wish :) This may or may not have been before 11 in the morning...self-control of a 2 year old

1 September 2011

Chocolate and Glacé Cherry Slice

These pretty little bars had me sitting on the fence to begin with. You know those treats you just can't decide what you quite think of them, I knew they were darn yummy but they weren't exactly how I expected and this left me pondering! After I accepted them for what they were though they kind of disappeared over night..I found myself going up to 'sample' another...and another...My Mum's partner LOVED them from the start, he never ate less than 3 in one sitting, no exaggeration!

The reason I didn't instantly swoon over these sweet slice's was because I was expecting the overwhelming flavour to be of cherry considering the rather generous amount of them it contains. However I cannot honestly say there is any cherry taste at all! I suppose glacé cherries have a relatively mild flavour in themselves which I didn't really take into account. Once that initial 'oh..?' moment elapsed I was left appreciating what I can only describe as a homemade bounty/mounds bar - just jazzed up! It's as if the cherries were there to beautify the classic favourite, so if you are a fan of coconutty-chocco bars then these are SO for you!

29 August 2011

Plum Torte

I have a tendency to waffle on and distract from the recipe itself, but rather backwardly I love to-the-point lists and facts. People that border on rudely blunt tend to be the ones I gravitate towards, I like to know that what you see is what you get and that I will get a straight answer even if it may not be the most desirable one to hear. But anyway, there I go again - waffling. Sometimes what you need is a factual list - and what better when that list is all about cake, an absolutely awesome cake at that. Here we go:

1. This recipe is the most published and most requested recipe in the entire Times archive. It's been printed pretty much every year in the New York Times for about 15 years due to reader demand - to be honest this is all you reallllyyy need to know! But I will keep going, as a list comprising of just 1 simply ain't a very good list
2. It is stupidly basic, in a totally simple-is-best way. It uses 7 ingredients you are almost guaranteed to already have on hand, then you just nestle some juicy ripe plums into their loving cakey arms and hey presto!
3. There are essentially 4 short steps. No process this, whisk that, alternate this-with-that; just mix arrange sprinkle 'n bake. I almost dare you to take longer than 10 minutes to make it
4. Apparently it freezes like a gem, bonus!
5. It may be basic..but my goodness was I pleasantly surprised. I was kind of expecting it to be one of those crazy easy recipes that is tasty, but more great to have on hand for its simplicity rather than deliciousness. Oh how I regret my pessimism! There is a slightly crisp cinnamon-sugar topping that gives way to a sponge who's perfectly soft texture truly made me stop in my munching tracks (that takes a lot of doing), and the plum's sink in creating these irresistible fruity pockets

24 August 2011

Blueberry Cheese Danish Cake

Let me begin by saying this didn't turn out quitteee like it was meant to...I mean if you check out the original recipe's photos it's an absolute beauty! Mine isn't HALF as pretty, but I ain't complaining my friends 'cos the taste is alllll there :) It is a recipe who's aim is to simulate the flavours of a danish cream-cheese pastry...in a cake...yes please!

The noises my Mum made when she first started eating this cake were, well to put it bluntly, noises i'd rather not hear my mother making. There was so much ooh-ing and aah-ing going on I didn't know whether to just be flattered or to take the cake away from her to save my innocent ears. Quote: 'mmmmm, it's so melt in your mouth! This is definitely to be put on the make again list!' Like I need asking to make this again, I only made it 7 hours ago and half of it has gone...woops

21 August 2011

Apple Almond Tart

My oh my, if there were any words that would convince you to try out this tart then I wish I could find them right now! I didn't have many expectations when it came to trying this recipe, sure I thought it looked nice but it was more a scrummy looking recipe tried out of necessity than one out of long-term lusting. After making the Hazelnut Brown Butter Cake I was left with 6 dinky little egg yolks just begging to be utilised in some comforting sweet. Im not sure why I opted for this one in the end...maybe the pastry addicted gremlin in my brain working its magic, but I truly am so so happy it won out

17 August 2011

Hazelnut Brown Butter Cake

Brown butter seems to have rather a fan club. I'd never had a face-to-face encounter with the infamous stuff before, but all over the food blogging world I'd seen posts gushing about it's ability to transform the most simple of dishes. Well, I am officially one big fat convert and am now a fellow brown butter groupie. If I could drink the magical liquid without looking utterly repulsive and being made an outcast by my real-life friends then I would. I wish there was a scratch 'n sniff panel I could insert right now of the unreal scent of the butter bubbling away on the hob getting friendly with half a vanilla pod, it was quite something

This cake was a whole bunch'a firsts for me; first brown butter experience, first use of a vanilla pod, first ganache - I feel enlightened! One of the main reasons (of many) that I love food blogging is that it pushes you to try new and exciting things which otherwise you may just pass by. Boy am I glad the above 3 things are strangers to me no longer! I loved each separate part, I've definitely been missing out! And this recipe is whole-heartedly more than the sum of it's oh so special parts.

13 August 2011

Peppermint Crisps

Today I have for you a genius little recipe. It's a no-bake, deceivingly impressive, utterly moorish cookie thats perfect for after dinner or, lets be fair, any time! You really must make these right now and then love me forever, seriously.

There is many a recipe out there for homemade after-dinner mints, and even though I am a masssiivee fan of them and their creamy peppermint filling (mmmm), I do like a bit of a crunch in my cookies and as soon as I saw these knew they would be a winner. Im not sure it it's really right to call these a cookie but Im not sure what else to call them! Maybe just lovelies. Minty lovelies.

11 August 2011

Moroccan Chicken

I thought I'd stray from the beloved curry path today and try my hand at something a little different :) Moroccan cuisine is so full of flavour and, although I am not very experienced in it, I love what I have tried. Moroccan couscous appears on my daily menu about 4 days out of 7 in the summer, can't get enough of the stuff! So today I have a Moroccan chicken recipe for you, traditionally made in a tagine (lucky you if you have one!) but is easily replicated in a humble saucepan or skillet, whatever you have on hand :)

9 August 2011

Hidden Berry Cream Cheese Torte

I've had my eye on this little gem of a recipe for a crazziiilyy long time. I'd never made a cheesecake in any form (unless cheesecake stuffed cookies count :) ) and was dying to pop my cheesecake cherry. The Brown Eyed Baker is one of my favourite food blogs to get lost in with page after page of pure temptation and gorgeous recipes, so when this torte was featured for a second time, now in her Top 10 Favourite Cake list, I knew I just had to make it. Sadly I did not own the correct pan or a springform in any shape or size so simply sat pining after it for far too long. Big news...my house is a springform free zone NO LONGER! I finally went out and invested in my new love, I get irrationally excited about kitchen purchases...I hope this isn't just me and you arn't reading this thinking I'm a total weirdo

Onto the torte, its good. Reaaaalll good. A thick buttery shortbread crust with a fruity jam layer spread over the top which blends into a generous amount of smooth cream cheese filling. There's no skimping in this recipe and that's just my cuppa tea :) However it isn't as sinful as you may think, low fat cream cheese and low fat cottage cheese cut the dreaded calorie count (life's too short to think about such things, but it's always nice if that 3rd hunk of a slice is a little less guilt ridden)

7 August 2011

Walrus Bars

What a peculiar name, if anyone can enlighten me on the reason behind it please do! But for the time being I am quite content with my un-answered question whilst I shovel away these dreamy little walrus's. A deeply chocolaty shortbread base covered in a layer of chewy gooey caramel and toasted nuts....excuse me whilst I go nab another. I make quite a few shortbread based goods but I have to say this choccy shortbread really impressed me, it tastes fabulous and is yummy in its own right. Iv'e made pecan pie bars in the past which were absolutely gorgeous, so when I saw this recipe I knew it was going to be a winner as the components seemed to be veryvery similar. The main differences were the addition of cocoa, the switch of nut and my choice to swap the extract for a nice dash of booze. Boozy treats, you make me joyful!

5 August 2011

A Lovely Blog Award and 7 Facts About Me

A post with a bit of a difference today!  A couple'a days ago I was ELATED to be told Id been given a blog award called 'One Lovely Blog' by Lynne who runs the absolutely brilliant blog Cook and be Merry. Being so new in the blogging world, it was such an unexpected but incredibly gratefully received surprise. 

There are a couple of little rules that go along with the privilege of receiving this award, these being....
1. Post a link back to the person that gave you the award
2. Share 7 random things about yourself
3. Pass the award onto 15 recently discovered blogs
4. Drop them a note to tell them about it

So here are 15 food blogs that I feel are incredibly deserving of this award for their excellent recipes, wonderful photos, just being plain lovely people or most likely a mixture of them all :)

Phew that was hard, there were so many I wanted to put! And now for the 7 random things about me..

1. My nickname at university is squirrel because of my red hair (dyed unfortunately, natural red heads you are lucky beings!) but it's rather fitting as I am total nut-aholic and a compulsive hoarder

2. Im half a perfectionist but I also have an issue with following things through, ie I like things to be just right once finished but most of the time im plain useless and never actually get to the end. Played piano for 7 years, horseriding for 2, violin 2 years, cello 1 year, rowing 1 1/2 years, guitar 1/2 year (and still dabbling)..you see where im going with this. I have a multitude of half finished sewing projects, one thing I am good at is reading though, I get really into a good book. Basically so far this blog is a huge achievement as ive made it a few months and falling more in love with the whole deal every day, hurrah!

3. I have shocking circulation so have funky purple feet most of the time. It's pretty weird

4. I have given up trying to control my worryingly sweet tooth. I eat on average 2 bars of chocolate, a few slices of homemade dessert, a packet of crisps and a packet of hard fruit candy per day. And then I complain that my new facewash must be giving me spots...

5. The thought of the future scares me quite a bit, but it excites me also

6. It was my childhood dream to own a safari park in Africa one day, and it still is

7. I am a pessimist to be an optimist. I think negatively but don't truly believe the negative thoughts, more try to half convince myself of them. This may sound weird, but if I think 'that good thing isn't going to happen, my baking adventure won't turn out as nice as I would like, it is going to rain today' etcetc then when the good thing DOES happen, when people oo, ahh and the treat is too scrummy to put down, and when the sun shines - it just feels so much more wonderful than if I was thinking it was going to be that way all along :)

So there we go! And just so you don't feel cheated by the lack of a sweet treat in this post I promise you there is a totally addictive chocolatey nutty treat coming up veryvery soon, of which I ate far too much before pausing to take photos, pop back if you fancy finding out what it is you should be making in your kitchen in the very near future! :)

4 August 2011

Fresh Strawberry Pie

Pastry = heaven. I have no shame in admitting, more than once, if there was some ready-rolled puff pastry in the fridge and I couldn't be fussed to cook I would happily shove a sheet in the oven and call it lunch. If I didn't start worrying about looking like a block of butter I might have made it a weekly occurrence. And this brings me on to this stupendously awesome recipe. I love pastry. Pies have pastry. I love pies.

Now I've eaten a lot of pies in my time and I've made a lot of them also, I really should resemble a pie, but this...this is the most deliciously summery pie I have ever ever ever made, maybe even tasted. So that's saying something!

2 August 2011

The Perfect Pie Crust

I searched high and low for a trusty basic pie crust recipe for a long while, I am a self-confessed pastry addict, so Im pretty darn picky I have to say! A year or so back I stumbled upon this recipe at the wonderful blog Smitten Kitchen and it's been my fool proof delicious go-to recipe ever since. It was love at first bite :) If you are still on the hunt for a pie crust recipe that will not let you down - please try this one. I honestly put my baking dignity on the line and say that I guarantee you will be happy with the outcome if you follow all the steps

It's an all-butter crust, and although some people swear by the use of lard/shortening or more recently vodka (Cooks Illustrated's invention I think), this one yields the divinely flakey crisp crust that we all yearn for and it never lets me down. So all butter it is!

In this little tutorial I used my food processor to help things along, but Ive used a pastry cutter before (and have to do it by hand if I do a double crust as my machine is too mini!) I would recommend doing it by hand but it works fine either way :) If using the processor then be very careful not to over process, do not wait until the butter is pea sized before adding in the water - by the time it starts to clump you will have completely obliterated those bits of butter and you WANT to be able to see little smudges of butter when its rolled. It's this that aids your quest for flakey perfection. Head on over to Smitten Kitchen to read more in depth about how to create the perfect pie crust, but if you want the quick n dirty version to robotically follow, then just stick with me and I will take you through it! The Key = Cold. Remember this, the colder ingredients are, the flakier your crust. And that is the aim of the game

31 July 2011

Ginger Crunch Bars

I'm going to keep this post short and sweet (for a change!)

I love ginger, all things ginger. Anyone else have a secret crush on Ronald Weasley..? No? Just me then...

If you fancy a bit o' spice in your life then this, my lovely friends, is the post for you. A gorgeously buttery, ginger spiked shortbread base (that Im tempted to just make by itself its so good) is bathed in a coating of sweet spiced icing and sprinkled with the godly stuff that is candied ginger. That's a hellofalota zing right there! It is dangerously addictive so make at your own risk, but there are no calories on weekends, it's a fact. If there was then I would be royally screwed right now, these little blighters just keep happenninngg to make their way into hands..then mouth..then belly. Don't ask me how, it's a mystery. But I'm not complaining

29 July 2011

Lemon Meringue Cake

Yup, you read that right, lemon meringue cake :) I have yet to attempt making the godly thing that is the lemon meringue pie (definitely on the to-do list) but this morning, whilst pondering over what scrummy little thing to rustle up, found this recipe I bookmarked so long ago I don't even recall and just knew this was the one for me! It's a little more involved than the oh-so divine Raspberry Bakewell Cake I whipped up the other day as it combines 3 different parts, but each separate bit is really very easy to do, so while it takes a little longer its no more stressful and well worth the mini extra effort :)

I was so happy with how this one turned out! It's just the cutest little snowball/cloud like cake and would make a lovely dinner party dessert 'n the such. It isn't a fabulous keeper though, so I wouldn't make it if there was any chance it was going to hang around for more than two/three days. Each part tastes wonderful in its own right; the base is a dreamy basic vanilla sponge which you slather in a silly amount of creamy tangy lemon curd, and if that wasn't enough there is a mahooosive amount of silky fluffy meringue to get through first :) It's definitely not a cake that does things by halves, and this is finnnnee with me!

26 July 2011

Raspberry Bakewell Cake

I love Summer. I mean I reallyreally adore it. Winter definitely has it's positives, there is little more comforting than snuggling up in front of the fire in the living room on a nippy evening, munching on toasted marshmallows or chestnuts, but when Summer comes around everyone seems to walk around with such a happier outlook on life. People in the street just seem...smiley! And one of the BEST things about Summer to me is berries. If I had to choose between a life devoid of fruit or a life without sweet treats, I'm afraid I would have to give up the sugary sweets (but lets not even think about this as ever being a possibility)

I get through an obscene amount of berries in these few months, it's an expensive addiction, but I very rarely bake with them because, in all honesty, I eat them before they get a chance to be made into something else! But this time I saw a recipe I fancied and, determined to make it come to life, bought the berries especially (I hope you appreciate the self discipline required for the one night they were sat in the refrigerator)

24 July 2011

Chicken Vindaloo

Here goes my second savoury post, and shock horror it's another curry! For good ol' curry night this Saturday I decided to try my hand at a classic vindaloo - something I have never made previously and haven't had that many past encounters with apart from the odd stolen bite from my Mum's plate. But I thought I would give it a whirl as a treat for my Ma and a learning experience for me too! That's one thing I love about cooking, there is alwwayyyss more to learn and new dishes to try out, there's an infinitesimal world of yumminess of which you will never ever reach the end and I love pondering over what might be next :)

22 July 2011

Pecan Pillows

Ok...this is big news...there may just be a new contender for my favourite cookie! No disrespect Gran, your's will always be top of course :) But these give me serious pause for thought!

I realise this is my second stuffed cookie recipe in a row, but there's something about that hidden middle that makes me feel like an excited kid again. Especially when you don't warn the happy receiver (as long as you know they don't have a nut allergy in this case...that would be less fun..) and have that excited little internal 'I know a secret that you are about to find out and love me forever' dance whilst expectantly watching their face for a reaction...yes I do this every time, and no it never gets old for me!
Please click any photo if you wish to enlarge it :)

19 July 2011

Raspberry Cheesecake Stuffed Chocolate Cookies

That's one lengthy name huh! I think they should just be called delicious, or spectacular, or maybe more suitably 'pain in the behind cookies'...because life has a cruel sense of humour and these cookies are so scrummy but I have never before cursed at cookie dough balls so much in all my life! I'm not going to lie to you, if you are looking for a quick fix treat to quash that niggling need for something sweet, this most certainly ain't it! But what you do get for all your hard work is the love child of a deeply chocolatey cookie with a fruity creamy cheesecake, thats one sexy offspring.

Imagine the smile on unsuspecting guests faces as they take their first bite, the initial sensation is of the crisper sugar-coated cookie edges and an unexpectedly intense chocolatey rush. Then you sink into a soft, smoooooth, subtly berry tinted filling that contrasts beautifully. Truly addicting let me tell you! Oh and they are just so pretty :)

Sadly these really are the most fiddly sticky downright stubborn things to make that I have ever experienced, kinda backwards as I was expecting the Almond Tart to be the pain in the derriere not these cute innocent looking things! I learnt some tricks along the way to make the process a little less expletive-inducing and will include these in the recipe/notes below. The problem is the dough really is not made for stuffing, it's a pretty soft mix that does set up alright after a good chill but as soon as you start to roll it in your mitts it attaches itself to everything! Then try locking in a blob of liquidy filling in the middle of a squished sticky ball, its a learning curve I can tell you!

17 July 2011

Chez Panisse Almond Tart

Please don't let the less than perfect appearance of my attempt of this lovely tart put you off, yours will be much prettier I promise! Read on for my excuses reasons :)

Since I've been on such a foodie love fest recently (cinnamon..lemons..coconut..) I was going to continue this theme and call or start this post with 'I love nuts', but luckily better judgement won through, suspect google searches might well have brought some interesting visitors to my blog!

Back to the topic in hand, this is the infamous 'Chez Panisse Almond Tart'. Possibly the most involved recipe I have yet attempted but by no means hard, you just have to watch over it like a doting parent making sure it doesn't misbehave too badly. If you have not come across this recipe before, it is the creation of the head pastry chef/co-owner of the Chez Panisse Restaurant in California at which the wonderful and inspirational David Lebovitz worked. It was their most popular dessert by far, but was essentially a pain in the butt to make on a larger scale and tricky to eat with a fork. PLEASE don't be put off, the end product more than makes up for it! David states 'it’s the most delicious thing I’ve probably ever had. And I’ve had a lot of things that were delicious', from him..thats incredibly high praise indeed

I actually really enjoyed making this once I realised the process wasn't as difficult as I expected. I have to say it didn't turn out QUITE as I wanted but that is purely because of my oven, or should I say lack of oven...this is my dirty little secret ive been keeping from you. We have an aga which is turned off in the summer, so Im ashamed to say all my baking in warmer months is done in a combination microwave oven *insert sad, embarrassed face* It looks like a normal microwave but has an oven function inbuilt which is handy but it tends to cook too fast around the edges compared to the centre - hence the overdone outside and underdone middle! But this should, if anything, reassure you - if I can produce a remotely yummy edible good then you can definitely do it! And yours will be much prettier than mine :)

15 July 2011

Coconut Lemon Cake

I am awfully sorry to inflict yet another lemon recipe on you, you must be bored of them by now if you have visited before, but im not really sorry because Im an addict and I need my citrus fix

Plus this is lemon AND coconut, another of my all time favourite flavours and together they are one of the best combo's out there - summer in a sponge :)

This cake is just ridiculous, you literally chuck everything in a bowl, mix, pour it in the pan and 40 minutes later you have a gorgeous smelling home and a beautiful, deceivingly impressive and drop dead delicious cake. I mean really, what more could you ask for! It is so so moist, divine in both texture and taste, and not to mention oh-so pretty! I have to say, Im quite chuffed about this one, Im like a proud parent coo-ing over it and making sure no pesky flies get their grubby paws anywhere near

13 July 2011

Gran's Ginger Biscuits

Isn't it funny how any hand-me-down recipe simply has to be pre-fixed with the original 'creators' name; Aunt Sally's Apple Pie, Mum's Pasta Bake...Gran's Ginger Biscuits. They are not just ginger biscuits, god no! They are Gran's ginger biscuits and it would feel wrong to call them otherwise! These are my family's favourite biscuit by far and of course hold incredible sentimental value, being the first biscuit I ever learnt to make with my extraordinary Grandma and proceeded to make pretty much every friday (unless the afore mentioned Butterfly cakes made an appearance) up until she very sadly passed away in 2007.

She was an inspiration; a talented, SO so intelligent and sharp lady with incredibly strong morals. Aged 92, she still played the organ for the Church every Sunday, baked prize-winning cakes with the Women's Institute, knitted gorgeous blankets for charity and took me with her to play bingo every Thursday :) amazing until the very end.
But these are not just our favourite munchies for sentimental reasons, they are absolutelllyyyyy divine. They may not look like much, but they are gorgeously crisp (we are definitely what ive read are called 'anger eaters' in this house, preferring a satisfyingly crunchy snack, although I hope this doesn't reflect on personality...!) and have a flavour that far exceeds their modest exterior, every bite resulting in an oh so warming and comforting envelopment of spice that only a perfectly balanced gingersnap can give. Oh yes, I don't think ive mentioned...they are PERFECT for dunking :)

12 July 2011


So this is my lovely little house where I live with my Ma that ive mentioned a few times. It really is teeny! I think it suits the nickname the gingerbread cottage :)

Yesterday was a beautiful day, the sort of day where you peek out of the curtains in the morn, smile, and actually want to get changed out of your pj's. I forced on slid into my bikini (that is very much for my eyes only, now ive started this food blog my belly is loving me but my hips are CERTAINLY not!) and toddled off outside to bask in the warmth with my sausage dog Penny by my side

After a depressingly short amount of time I noticed my skin turning an oh so attractive shade of lobster rouge and had to toddle back indoors

And then I did the only thing there is to do when stuck indoors on a nice day...or ANY day...and that of course is to bake :)

What I rustled up happen to be mine, my mum's, and my mum's partners all time favourite cookie treat, basically I don't think a cookie will ever beat them in our eyes and theres not much higher praise I can give than that! I will hopefully be posting about them tomorrow, sorry to keep you in suspense! They are unassuming morsels but are utterly addictive and are totally exquisite, well worth the wait i promise

I hope you are having a sunny, dreamy lovely week so far, and if the latter part is missing - stop by tomorrow to pick up a recipe that is bound to propel your week into an altogether better place :)

ps if you are still reading this, I may just love you, you are brilliant!

10 July 2011

Spicy Chicken Coconut Curry

My first post on a savoury dish, shocking I know! I was half tempted to keep this purely a baking blog but I love cooking non-sweet treats nearrrllyyy just as much, nearly.. :) so thought i'd share a meal recipe too, incase you fancy a change!

We adore a good curry in my little household, especially my ma, and as such have christened Saturday nights 'Curry night'! Every Saturday I rustle up a curry, mostly trying out new recipes (I have found some stars over the past year or so, 3 of which I am especially dying to tell you about but I will have to wait until I make them again as a post without photos is just silly)

I first stumbled over this recipe on the lovely blog Eats Well With Others. I have made another recipe from this site (the pecan slices, I will have to make them again soon) which turned out to be glorious, and it is originally a highly rated Tyler Florence recipe, so I was pretty sure it would turn out well if all went to plan

9 July 2011

Lemon Drizzle Cake

This cake is the ugly duckling of the bakery world. It may not be much of a looker, but one taste and you will be convinced it is the most beautiful thing you have ever created :)

Those of you that have visited my blog previously will know I suffer from the inability to get straight to the point, its called rambling disorder and I am probably the worst case they have seen this decade. But with this recipe for once im stumped with what to say, im not really sure where to start! I don't think any words will adequately get across quite how stupendous it is.

This cake was my ticket to winning first prize at a local show (woo!) and is deservedly the top rated recipe on BBC GoodFood with over 760 ratings. It is originally a Tana Ramsay creation (wife of the infamous Gordon Ramsay and an excellent baker in her own right), and with just a few alterations has become my go-to cake for gifting and every day munching, and has been for a fair few years