Currently, my favourite thing to bake is French macarons. After lots and lots of practice I’ve finally mastered the technique so not I get to focus on flavours and making them all kinds of pretty colours. (check out my Facebook page to see my latest Valentines Day designs).
For macaron inspiration Pintrest is great. There are some bloggers who are killing the macaron game too, my personal favourite it Raspberri Cupcakes, she’s a macaron queen! This particular recipe was inspired by some Lindtt orange chocolate I was gifted a while back. It was tasty, but I felt like it could be put to better use than my passing sweet tooth cravings. Also, macaron making always leads to leftover egg yolks which usually leads to curd for a filling! Orange curd is a great twist on the lime and cranberry versions I’ve posted before. It doesn’t have the tartness of the other and is sweet and creamy. Perfect when paired with a dark chocolate ganache like we have here. (more…)
There should be a banana bread for every season. In spring, with it’s fresh mornings, bright evenings and new blooms, banana bread should be kept pure and simple. Rich in flavour, dense in texture and a celebration of the pure banana experience. In summer you want to kick it up a notch by flinging in some pineapple and shredded coconut, or a burst of citrus with lime juice and zest, or a generous handful of summer berries to add some summertime sass to your favourite banana loaf recipe.
By the time Autumn rolls around you’re through with fruit and salad and any pretence at healthy snacks, you want indulgent treats to help you suffer the wind, rain and ever darkening days. The only answer? NUTELLA! Yes, the autumn banana bread must surely contain a substantial swirl of my favourite thing to come out of a jar. Some sort of peanut butter concoction would also be perfect, just don’t forget the chocolate chips. (more…)
This curd has turned out to be one of the most delicious things I’ve ever made. I keep trying to dream up what I can put it in to next. It was originally born from having left over cranberries and SO MANY left over egg yolks from macaron making last week. To me, all curds are delicious, particularly when they have a tart edge to them, so using cranberries seemed to be a perfect idea.
This cranberry curd would make a delicious sponge cake filling, would work wonderfully paired with super sweet and crunchy meringue or even on a simple slice of toast. This batch was made to be used as a filling for macarons at my next food fair but I will have lots more egg yolks coming my way so I foresee many more batches in my future. It may even end up as Christmas presents!
I suggested using it in our Christmas trifle, in place of raspberry jam between the trifle sponges….didn’t go down well! A recipe tweak too far I believe! Don’t mess with greatness.
The curd is sweet but has the tartness that you associate with cranberries. My mum said the curd reminded her of rhubarb, which I agree with, it’s the acidity that does it. You could definitely experiment with this curd too. Add some zest or cook the cranberries with Christmas spices (such as cinnamon sticks and cloves)…experiment! Let me know how you get on.
It’s well and truly autumn now. Great news for me as it’s by far my favourite season. I adore the colour of the leaves at this time or year, and in a much more shallow way, I love my autumn wardrobe. You get to wear scarves and hats, yet not freeze your butt off. It’s cool enough for cosy winter coats and the nights are not too dark.
It’s also an opportunity to change up the ingredients in my baking. Spices play a heavy roll. Using dark brown sugars and treacle always seems like the right move. Pumpkins a plenty! Apples and pears also feature heavily. These cupcakes incorporate most of the above with a hint of spice and chunks of caramelised apple throughout.
These spiced apple cupcakes encapsulate the season in a bite. They are simple to make and don’t have the fuss or over-the-top sweetness of buttercream icing. They are light and moist with a cinnamon crunch on top thanks to the generous sprinkling of sugar atop the sliced apples. This recipe would work equally well with pears and is a great way to use up any that you find that just won’t ripen up in your fruit bowl. (more…)
About a month or so ago I was contacted by the publisher Phaidon who asked if I would like a copy of one of their new books to try out, review and, if I liked it, blog about it. Now, everyone likes free stuff and I love cookbooks so of course I accepted gratefully. With that eager response I totally forgot all about it until a mysterious heavy package arrived at home a couple of weeks ago. It was addressed to me but I was sure I hadn’t ordered anything lately…had I?
So I opened it with a slight tad of suspicion only to be delightfully surprised with the promised new book ‘What to Bake and How to Bake it’ by Jane Hornby. And it really is delightful. Even before I had delved in to its pages the eye-catching illustrated front cover held great promise. The inside didn’t disappoint either. This really is a ‘how-to’ of baking. The book has a blog feel to it as all of the ingredients and steps to each recipe are photographed meticulously. Each recipe is delivered in the same simplistic format which would be very easy for the novice baker to follow.
The cover is gorgeous, bright and the interesting design would certainly make you pick it up for a flick through in a book shop but if you are after evocative or arty food photographs then that’s not what this book is about. I think that’s ok though, because this book is meant to be a tool to teach which in my opinion is successfully does.