Another Sunday, another cake. This one comes about by my urge to practice my piping skills. Did I say skills? Not quite. I have rarely piped icing before. Far too fiddly and I’m far too unskilled for it. But you will never improve if you don’t practice, so let’s start off easy. This cake is decorated with balls of cardamom buttercream and sprinkles of pistachio nuts for a truly middle-eastern flavour.

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Burgers are big business nowadays – so much so my local town is almost overrun with restaurants competing with one another on who can offer the biggest burgers, the spiciest, the sweetest – I kid you not when I say that there is a doughnut burger – replace the bun with a two doughnuts and you have a sugary, bacon, beef concoction. I’ve been reassured it’s good.

I wanted to perfect the best restaurant-quality burger to have at home. Cheesy, saucy, a little bit greasy – one where the filling bursts out the sides when you take a bite.

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It’s been a long time since I’ve had a brownie – too long infact. This weekend, I was lucky enough to be a guest at a sun-kissed wedding. The food was wonderful, a BBQ with all the trimmings. And dessert? Well, imagine how happy my dessert stomach was when I was presented with a brownie.

It was at that point I realised it’d been a while and even longer since I had baked any. So today, nursing a little bit of a hangover, I made a batch of fudgy, gooey brownies – some topped with peanuts, some just a little cocoa. The mixture of sugars allow for a slight crust on the top, while adding a deeper flavour.

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I do like a good cake. A good cake and a nice cuppa. I’ve recently been experimenting with cake and I thought I’d take advantage of this long weekend and spend my bank holiday Monday in the kitchen trying out some techniques.

The inspiration came from a cocktail I had on Friday where the bartender mixed spices – cinnamon and ginger with black pepper and blackberries. I was blown away by how well everything went together and I thought to myself: could these flavours work in a cake? I went ahead and made the cake and I was really pleased with the flavours – add enough black pepper and you barely notice it apart from a kick at the end of each bite. But it works, complimenting the cinnamon and ginger well. The original cake had blackberry buttercream and some lemon zest but in all honesty, I was not pleased with the final result aesthetically, so I put this cake together – similar flavours, and an added show-stopping buttercream.

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Is there much more comforting than a bowl of risotto? Silky,creamy and cheesy – what is not to love on a cold winter’s day? Not only is risotto a fantastic meal on it’s own, it also makes great leftovers. Find out how to turn a bowl of comfort food into an impressive looking starter – thought don’t tell anyone how easy it is!

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You might know by now that lemon is one of my ultimate favourite flavours – I especially enjoy a lemon meringue pie with the pastry, the lemony-goodness and cloud-like meringue all combined. Heaven on a plate. I felt like taking the classic Éclair and putting a bit of a fun twist on it. The result is a stunning, citrusy Éclair perfect with a cup of tea on a Sunday afternoon.

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Just because it’s now officially spring and the clocks are going forward, it doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy an Autumnal treat every now and then. When I think of Autumn, I automatically think of pie. Pumpkin Pie, Apple Pie and most of all Pecan Pie. Pecan Pie has such a depth of flavour; dark and sticky and fudgy. When you pair it with the ginger ice cream and a rum-laced toffee sauce you have one hell of a dessert.

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Crème Brulee is a decadent and rich dessert adaptable in many ways – which is why I love it so. While a regular vanilla Crème Brulee hits the spot, sometimes I crave something a little different and Crème Brulee is perfect to switch up a little bit.

Passion Fruit is one of my favourite fruits – sharp and zingy, it compliments the creaminess of the vanilla custard perfectly – each spoonful hits you with the crunchiness of the caramel, creaminess of the vanilla custard and a hint of the exotic fruits humming away in the background.

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Rhubarb and Custard holds a dear place in my heart – I vividly remember those yellow and pink sweets piled high on the shelves at the local sweet shop as a child. I also remember being so intimidated by ordering something in 100g so very rarely got to have them as a treat. The pressure was just too much so I’d just stick to ordering penny sweets. That way I’d know exactly how much I’d be spending and exactly how many I’d get.

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I love lemon. There, i said it. Lemon water in the morning. Lemonade to kick that 3pm slump and lemon and honey to send me to sleep. And when lemon is in a dessert – well, I ask what is not to love?

I don’t use lemon curd enough. The reason behind it is that I almost forget how easy and versatile it is. This in particular lemon curd was made to use on my Lemon Thyme Madeleines. At the last minute I ended up changing things around and instead was left thinking how i could use this lemon curd up.

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Making your own pasta is one of the easiest things you can do in cooking – and the payoff is fantastic. Ever since I gave it a go a few years ago I haven’t used the shop-bought stuff since. Not only is there something hugely rewarding about it, it’s also a massively calming exercise and one that is easy to push yourself on. Once you’ve mastered a basic tagliatelle, you can experiment with different shapes, colours and even have a go at filling some.

Right now though, I’m just going to run through the absolute basics to start you off and later will come some of the more technical and tricky aspects of pasta making.

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