SPINACH, FETA AND SUNDRIED TOMATO MUFFINS.
Savoury bake time! A work colleague came back from a weekend away with a little recipe card for these muffins, and admitted that she only gave it to me in the hope I’d make them for everyone! Of course I did, and they disappeared SO quickly that several more copies of the recipe had to be photocopied.
Almost an all-in-one recipe, the majority of the time for this recipe is taken up by ingredients preparation. However, putting fresh spinach into dry ingredients and THEN adding the wet was a ridiculous sort of mission. Stirring just didn’t really happen, it all stuck and gooed and flicked out of the bowl, and then into the muffin cases. And then baked. And then wowed. And then was no more.
Considering how strong the taste of feta cheese is, it wasn’t overpowering at all. All of the flavours complimented each other so wonderfully!
berkeleybite asked: I'm so excited about following you blog!!
aw thank you! I best start cracking on with some new updates then! :)
DOUBLE CHOC CHIP HOT CROSS BUNS.
I LOVE hot cross buns. Especially toasted with lashings of melted butter! I found this recipe randomly lingering about in a pile of magazine cuttings a year ago, but never had a go at it. Last week I got curious and adventurous so decided to go for it!
With two types of chocolate chips instead of the usual sultanas, these buns are still delicately spiced and ever so scrummy! I’d never worked with fast action yeast before, so this was quite exciting for me too.
The only issue I had making these was PROVING. There was literally nowhere in my house warm enough to allow the dough to rise to it’s full extent (I think). Well, I say that, I eventually put the bowl at the end of my bed beneath my radiator and next to my Xbox in the hope that there would be enough warmth, and it did rise a bit, and the hot cross buns were MASSIVE by the time they came out the oven (they needed to be cut into 3 to fit into the toaster…).
And I finally learnt that the cheeky cross is just a flour and water mixture piped on top before baking! Out of the oven, glazed with sugar and water, spread with butter, so damn good! Will definitely be getting some more of these baked in time for Easter.
recipe: a random magazine clipping with no name from a pile of resources in an art classroom.
Photos edited by Mark Goodyear
DOUBLE CHOCOLATE CHIP CHEESECAKE.
A while ago during a random conversation, my boyfriend admitted he wasn’t sure if he liked cheesecake or not. Obviously I had to get this theory tested, and when I purchased the new book from The Great British Bake Off, this recipe demanded to be made.
Digestive biscuit base (personally I think it needed a bit more butter, it was very crumbly and I’m surprised it came out of the tin in one piece!), and a creamy filling with chunks of dark and white chocolate. The chocolate chunks didn’t disperse properly, but hey, still tasted damn good! My brother used the word “divine”, and the boyfriend went home with half of the cheesecake to himself. Baking Kay wins again!!
recipe: The Great British Bake Off: How To Bake, BBC Books
Photography by Mark Goodyear
CHICKEN & LEEK PIE.
I once wrote a song with a working title of ‘Pie is Nice’. I love pie. I especially love pie when the weather is all cold and dark and all I want to do is curl up with a belly full of comfort food.
For Christmas I received a recipe book for pies, so it was pretty important that I had to cook my first pie from that selection of recipes! Chicken & leek was one of the first choices, favourite!
The pie is made up of a shortcrust pastry base and a puff pastry lid. I used shop bought puff pastry but decided to make the shortcrust pastry myself in my new food processor! A warm kitchen is not the place for rolling out pastry though. Melting fat = MESS.
I’ve also never poached chicken before… the whole idea seems a little weird to me, but the leftover poaching liquid was far too tempting to make a gravy from! And actually, the chicken was SO succulent and juicy. And then cream and mustard and thyme? YUM.
Everyone was very happy with pie. Pie is excellent. Pie is delicious.
recipe: Lakeland Pies book
Photography by Mark Goodyear
So there I was being all healthy, making myself a crazy low-calorie egg white omelette when I was left with 3 lonely egg yolks and didn’t have the heart to waste them!
After a bit of pondering, I decided to go to good old Google. There I was greeted with visions of yummy, creamy crème brûlée, with it’s crispy, chewy lid… I’ve only ever had this dessert once before at a wedding last November, but I certainly remember immediately falling for it! (ahhh, the romance…)
I can’t quite get over how easy the recipe is - double cream, egg yolks, vanilla pods and sugar (so naughty!). The way the vanilla pod comes through the creamy custard is AMAZING!
Obviously I was gutted I didn’t have a blowtorch to caramelise the topping… luckily the grill works just as well for now! The picture still doesn’t do it justice, with it’s cheeky caramel strands that appeared as I dug a spoon in. I was just in too much of a rush to eat it…
DENSE CHOCOLATE LOAF CAKE.
Happy New Year! For Christmas I received 2 Nigella cookbooks, including How To Be A Domestic Goddess which is packed full of yummy things to bake!
Now in the glorious chapter entitled ‘Chocolate’ was this recipe. I love a recipe with a short ingredients list, as I usually have everything I need in the cupboards. My brother also had some leftover dark chocolate so I managed to sneak that off him too…
Super easy recipe! The only thing I wish I’d taken notice of was to put a baking tray underneath the shelf the cake was due to cook on… there was a LOT of spillage and I now owe my mother a deep clean for the oven. oops!
The cake was delicious, and yes INCREDIBLY dense and moist. It does sink in the middle because it is that damp. I would recommend baking it and leaving it a day/overnight to settle, but I’m impatient and wanted to eat it ASAP.
recipe: How To Be A Domestic Goddess, Nigella Lawson
MINCE PIE WHIRLS.
I bought 2 jars of mincemeat last year and didn’t use either of them, so figured this year I had to do something!
Mum had caught me one day and told me she’d seen someone on television making mince pies but by rolling up puff pastry instead of encasing them in shortcrust. This sounded delightfully simple so I bought a packet of pre-rolled puff pastry (not feeling the skill of making my own yet…), sprinkled some caster sugar on the surface and rolled it out a little bit thinner, then cut it in half along the longest length as I wanted bitesize ones!
I then spread a jar of mincemeat on, and rolled each section up. I chilled the rolls for about half an hour before taking them out and cutting them into small sections (this would have been impossible to do with squishy pastry!!). I then turned each section over and squashed them flat with my hand - mucky! Then baked them for about 25 minutes!
They were so gooey and sticky, about half of the kids in my class liked them but us adults were more than happy to eat them…
Good job I have another jar of mincemeat in the cupboard. CHRISTMAS!
CHOCOLATE ORANGE TARTS.
I was in Costa Coffee one day, purchasing a festive coffee (new obsession, SO GOOD.) when I saw they had these little chocolate and orange tarts in their goodies cabinet!! After sharing one with my Dad I decided I had to try and make them myself. Plus I just love ganache!
So this was the first time I’d ever made my own pastry. Equipped with my rolling pin and baking beans, I was ready to go. It came to lining the tartlet tins, and I was being SO cautious with the thickness (or lack of). All I could hear in my head was Mary Berry on the Great British Bake Off saying “no soggy bottoms, no soggy bottoms!”.
The pastry actually came out very crisp and not soggy. I’m not sure if it was too crisp though, I think I might have to go out testing more shortcrust pastry items…
The ganache was standard. I didn’t use orange liqueur, but instead just some orange essence. YUMMY. The whole thing was very rich and gooey and greatly enjoyed by all, and I’m thinking of making some chocolate cherry tarts next with some cherry essence I received from America…
EPIC UPDATE. I’ve been a bit of a busy girl, what with the start of a new school year and lots of road tripping and not much time for being adventurous with baking… however I have been doing the odd bit here and there in the past few months, so thought I’d just bung all the photographs in one catch up post!
Most were just for birthdays or impulse bakes because I was hungry, but we have:
- Espresso Chocolate Cake with White Chocolate Mascarpone Frosting
- Coffee Cake
- Dinosaur Shortbread
- Salted Caramel Chocolate Cake
- Children In Need Marble and Gluten Free Cupcakes
- Chocolate Chunk Loaf
Unfortunately I wasn’t clever enough to save the links to recipes I used, but if anyone would like me to try and find them, I will give it a go! :)
So here’s my first batch of cupcakes for a wedding! They were to accompany the main cake, so I decided on a batch of marbled cupcakes (bigger cases this time, so a test bake had to be done to make sure I didn’t bugger up…), classic vanilla buttercream icing and a little sugarcraft flower - perfectly simple and classic, yes? I think they looked rather dashing next to the big wedding cake, and I’ve been informed they went down a treat, so yay!
I also purchased the (ready-made…) sugarcraft flowers from a shop in Cambridge that I never knew existed until I did some extensive Googling! A lady in there introduced me to all the sugarcraft tools, including lots of different shaped plungers! This might have got me a bit excited, and after watching the new series of the Great British Bake Off I’ve come to the conclusion that I need to get a bit more experimental and daring, especially with decorating… so I’m going to look into challenging myself with sugarcraft! Hurrah!
And the 3 new cupcake recipes I tried for my stall!:
RED VELVET CUPCAKES.
Topped with a cream cheese frosting. In my opinion, not as rich and glorious as the 3 layer cake I made, but still oh so moreish!
HOT CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES.
Made with hot chocolate powder instead of cocoa, these cupcakes are subtle but sweet and delicious.
Lemon cupcakes, with a lemon curd filling and a vanilla buttercream. yesplease.
Recipes: Red Velvet & Hot Chocolate from The Hummingbird Bakery Cake Days. Lemon from Baking Magic by Kate Shiraz.
(p.s. excuse my grubby patio table…)
Last weekend I was asked to do a cupcake stall for a Help for Heroes charity fun day.
After basically an entire day of baking and a hell of a lot of sugar inhalation, I ended up with 114 cupcakes to sell: Hot Chocolate, Caramel, Red Velvet, Marbled, Lemon and Vanilla.
And I made £81.60 in total :)! Business starts here?
ORANGE & WHITE CHOCOLATE SPONGE.
What a glorious summery cake!! This was another recipe I stumbled upon when deciding on my brother’s birthday cake, but decided to leave until later. I am however VERY glad I remembered it!
Orange and white chocolate has to be one of my all time favourite flavour combinations (hello Terry’s White Chocolate Orange please!) and this cake was no exception. The orange cake was perfectly moist, even though I took a risk and only used half the amount of ground almonds and replaced the rest with more flour.
The white chocolate ganache complimented the cake beautifully - made with crème fraiche instead of double cream, it turned out so much lighter and kind of refreshing, even though I really didn’t think it was going to thicken and set.
Definitely a recommended cake. I can already see a Christmas version appearing, topped with a dark chocolate ganache instead…like a jaffa cake…yum!
Oh and thanks brother, for eating my last slice.
tiffin; a mass mess of chocolate, golden syrup, biscuit, raisins and more chocolate!!
This week the teacher of the class I work in brought in this absolute TREAT for us all to eat. Of course the recipe was asked for, and recreated, and loved. Might have woken up at 4am this morning and craved another piece…
So rich and chocolatey and melt-in-the-mouth and moreish!
All recipe credit goes to Claire Wilkinson!