Tangzhong Chocolate Swirl Buns & VonShef Stand Mixer Review

tangzhong chocolate swirl buns

One of the biggest powerhouses in any baker’s arsenal is the stand mixer, it renders a great many tasks considerably easier and enables you to do other things whilst at the same time mixing cake batter, making meringue or kneading bread dough. Unfortunately they are generally prohibitively expensive, which is why when my (second-hand and gifted) KitchenAid mixer exploded I was unable to afford to replace it and have been without one for a long time. I still have it, sat in a cupboard awaiting the time when I get round to finding a replacement circuit board for it, but I keep forgetting to do so. (more…)

Tangy Lemon & Lime Curd

lemon-and-lime-curd

I don’t make fruit curd very often, for the simple reason that I cannot resist eating the lot. No word of a lie, I ate this entire batch of lemon & lime curd by myself in under a week… It is dangerously addictive stuff! It also happens to be very simple to make and amazingly versatile, not to mention so much nicer than shop-bought. It is fantastic just piled generously on toast, but also works well as a cake, tart, doughnut or eclair filling, swirled through ice cream, yoghurt or cheesecake, on pancakes, waffles or scones and can even be used in steamed puddings and souffles; the list goes on. (more…)

Blueberry Banana Buckwheat Layer Cake

Blueberry banana buckwheat layer cake with vanilla mascarpone cream frosting (gluten-free)

Not gonna lie, I chose the ingredients for this cake based on the fact that I liked the alliteration of ‘blueberry banana buckwheat’; so it’s a good job that they turned out to be delicious together! I’d had a bag of buckwheat flour sat in the cupboard for a while that I had been meaning to bake with, and a couple of over-ripe bananas in the fruit bowl just begging to be made into cake. The resulting banana buckwheat cake was delicious as is, but I couldn’t resist fancying it up a bit with the addition of vanilla mascarpone cream, jam and fruit. As mentioned above, I chose blueberries purely for the alliteration, and they worked perfectly, but strawberries, raspberries or a combination of the three would all also work just as well. (more…)

Spinach, Ricotta & Feta Quiche (Spanakopita Tart)

Spinach, ricotta and feta quiche (spanakopita tart)

One of the ingredients that I always make sure my freezer is stocked with is frozen spinach; I even prefer it to fresh spinach as the fresh stuff cooks down so much that you have to buy a vast quantity of it to end up with barely any once cooked. I use it for a variety of things, my favourites being spinach pesto and various variations of spanakopita – Greek spinach cheese pie. Spanakopita is traditionally made with homemade filo (phyllo) pastry, though shop bought can absolutely be used as well; but I was in the mood for something different so tweaked my usual recipe to turn it into a quiche instead. (more…)

Chocolate Porter (Or Stout) Ice Cream & A Giveaway

milk chocolate porter (or stout) beer ice cream with porter caramel sauce

It was only a few years ago, while managing a country pub, that I started to like beer; before then I had found the taste too bitter. But maybe something to do with the fact that I was serving many pints of it a day and taking care of the casks in the cellar changed my mind, and I grew to appreciate the bitterness. I have not however managed to grow to like drinking stout or porter, it is just too strong for me; but, pair it with chocolate and add to to ice cream (or cake) then it is a whole different story. Used in this way the deep, rich flavour complements and accentuates the chocolate and adds a malty flavour without overpowering. It is in short, utterly delicious.

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Balsamic Roasted Cherry Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream & July 2016 Degustabox Review

Balsamic roasted cherry and chocolate chunk ice cream

It feels like an age since I last posted, and I was planning on putting this post up last week but life (and my seven month old niece who I was babysitting for the week – how does anyone get anything done while looking after a baby?!) got in the way so it’s taken me an awfully long time to get this done! I’m also going to Bloodstock festival (heavy metal) tomorrow so will be away until next week; I’m hoping for a warm, sunny weekend but doubt I’m going to get it so I’ve got my (black, naturally) wellies packed just in case; I say packed, but currently I just have piles of stuff to take dotted around the house and haven’t actually packed anything yet…I am not very prepared! (more…)

Chocolate & Vanilla Gold Sprinkles Cake

Chocolate & vanilla gold sprinkles cake - velvety American white cake dyed turquoise with fudgy chocolate buttercream & a cascade of gold sprinkles

It’s been a while since I last made a layer cake, I didn’t even make one for my birthday (I had ice cream instead), the reason for this is that they are so big and there is mostly just the two of us to eat it. Therefore I will take advantage of any occasion where there is a gathering of people large enough to make one; a couple of weeks ago there was just such an occasion – a barbecue for a friends birthday so of course I made a cake. (more…)

White Chocolate Allspice Ice Cream

White chocolate allspice ice cream - rich, creamy white chocolate ice cream with a hint of warm allspice

Something amazing has happened this past week – Britain has actually had some Summer! As in actual hot, sunny days and clear blue skies rather than torrential rain and gloom… This has meant that I’ve been having to get up early to walk Ringo before it gets too hot to move and the pavement burns his little paws, and all I’ve wanted to eat is ice cream and watermelon, but I’m certainly not going to complain about some much needed sunshine! The heat has also been a good excuse (not that I’ve ever needed one) to put my ice cream maker to good use and this white chocolate allspice ice cream is one of my recent creations. (more…)

Black Forest Meringue Nests (Chocolate Cherry Meringues)

Black forest meringue nests - chocolate swirl meringues with quark whipped cream, cherry compote & chocolate shavings

The other day I attempted to squeeze the bowl for my ice cream maker into the freezer, which resulted in me having to re-arrange the entire freezer and remove several items in order to fit it in (there may be an overabundance of cake in there…); that in turn led to me making these black forest meringue nests as I took out a tub of egg whites (which I always seem to have several of in there) and a packet of frozen cherries to make room for the bowl. The logical conclusion was meringues with cherry compote, at which point it seemed wrong not to add chocolate and some quark whipped cream to make sort of black forest mini pavlovas. (more…)

Syrupy Lemon, Olive Oil & Semolina Cakes

Mini syrup drenched lemon, olive oil and semolina cakes

I made these little lemon, olive oil & semolina cakes for a picnic last week; they are great for picnics as they are very quick to whip up, and because they aren’t iced they can be transported in their tins or a tub easily if need be. The combination of lemon zest and semolina flour give the cakes a lovely sunny yellow colour, and the drenching of syrup provides a strong kick of lemon flavour and keeps them deliciously moist and soft. (more…)

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