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

7 July 2011

Chocolate Bourbons

Selection tins of tea-time biscuits are a dangerous thing for awful decision makers such as myself, most often resulting in one of every type being greedily gobbled up. Whether your biccie of choice is the delightful custard cream, a jammy dodger, digestives, chocolate chip, 'Nice', or good old traditional shortbread there is one that is the childhood favourite of many, and that is the bladdy brilliant chocolate bourbon

5 July 2011

The Hunt Begins for the Perfect Vanilla Fudge

Today is a momentous day, today was my first adventure into the crazy world of candy making :)

Well technically I will be posting this tomorrow once I get the chance to do a funky little photo shoot..so I suppose from your point of view, yesterday was a momentous day! This is messing with my mind a little though so I will carry on writing about it as today

I love candy. All candy. You know those old fashioned vintage style sweet shops with the walls covered in great big bell jars full of various brightly coloured sugary treats? well they are my heaven. There are a few characters in the candy world though that share a special little place in my heart (apologies to the others, you are lovely too in your own little way); sherbert lemons, flying saucers, bullseyes, apple 'n custard sweets, bon-bons, chocolate raisins, gobstoppers, sugared almonds...i could literally go on forever. But the one I reaaallllyyy idolise is fudge. Fuddgggeeee. mmmm. In particular sugary sweet creamy classic vanilla fudge

3 July 2011

The Best Coffee Cake

Please ignore the wonky topping! I stupidly chose a freaky slice to photo, the rest of the cake has a relatively even streusel, not like this funky looking (but oh so yummy) piece
When the Pioneer Woman says something is the best ever...you know its going to be good. I don't particularly like naming something 'the best' as everyone has their own preferences, but who am I to argue with the great PW!

I didn't really know what to expect when making this as I have never made a coffee cake before, but was really blown away with the results! It's not often I literally CANNOT resist a cake, ok thats an utter lie, but normally I can resist caving in for at least an hour after gorging myself silly having a slice, this one however is something altogether different. I don't know if I have ever made or tasted such an incredibly light fluffy sponge, ever. Its ethereal in its qualities, down to the folded in egg whites no doubt, but its a texture I find utterly irresistible. You probably gather I like this cake by now..and I havn't even got started on the streusel yet!

1 July 2011

Cinnamon Roll Cookies

I've had a busy couple of days, moving out of my Uni house yesterday (end of second year already...where on earth does time go) and I got my exam results too, managed to get into my third n final year hurrah! This past year has been really tough, I don't know if I should go into details as maybe a food blog isn't the right place to go into the in's and out's, but I truly don't think I will have a harder 365 or so days in my life again. I try to look on the bright side though and think that if I made it through that year (and managed to pass those blasted exams!) then I can make it through anything. Anyway, im going to avoid rambling today (or try to at least..i suffer from the waffling disorder) and get to the bit you are interested in :)