Almond Vanilla Twisted Bread

vanilla almond twisted breadI love experimenting with new ways of shaping bread and was very pleased with the results of this particular experiment. It is a messy affair to shape – I got almond filling everywhere, but the end result is very attractive. You start by rolling out the dough into a large rectangle and spreading the filling all over, leaving a small border around the edge, then roll it up, like making cinnamon rolls, slice the log in half lengthways, leaving about 3cm at the top attached; then, this is the messy bit – you twist the length of dough all the way along so that it resembles a coil, then place it in a cake tin in a spiral shape. Don’t worry if none of that made sense to you – I’ve included some photos of each step under the recipe. (more…)

Siopao (Asian Pork Buns)

The February Daring Bakers’ challenge is hosted by Julie of One-Wall Kitchen. She challenged us to an easy, simple filled bun using no-knead dough.

siopao - baked pork bunsThis months Daring Bakers challenge was to make Siopao – Asian filled buns. We could fill them with any sweet or savoury filling we wanted, but the filling recipe given with the challenge was for pork. Being vegetarian, I was initially planning on making a veggie filling for mine, but after hearing that the challenge was for pork buns, my not-remotely-vegetarian fiance gave me puppy-dog eyes and pleaded with me to make pork ones for him (I may be exaggerating slightly about the pleading…). I relented as the poor man is forced to eat a vegetarian diet roughly 90% of the time as I do most of the cooking (he doesn’t complain). I don’t mind cooking a bit of meat for him every now and again and will occasionally make a batch of meat pies to store in the freezer for when he gets a craving. I figured I could do the same with the buns (I doubt he’d be able to eat twelve of them within a couple of days!). (more…)

Ginger & Coconut Flapjacks

ginger coconut flapjacksSometimes the simplest bakes can be the most rewarding. Don’t get me wrong, I love a challenging bake – one with hundreds of components that can take several days (and mountains of washing up) to complete. But there are occasions when I just want something quick and simple and satisfying, where you can just throw all the ingredients together within five minutes and yet end up with something delicious to eat. (more…)

Baileys Salted Caramel & Chocolate Mousse Oreo Tarts

Irish cream salted caramel chocolate mousse oreo tarts So I had some Oreos left over from making red velvet brownies with oreo cream cheese mousse the other day. Granted, I could have just eaten them, but it seemed like more fun to come up with something to bake with them (although what I came up with doesn’t actually involve any baking). I’ve been meaning to make some tarts for a while now and although I had been planning on making pastry bases, I decided to swap those for oreo biscuit bases, topped with salted caramel and chocolate mousse. (more…)

Spiced Chocolate Dutch Baby Pancake With Caramelised Bananas & Peanut Butter Drizzle

spiced chocolate dutch baby pancake with caramelised bananas and peanut butterI don’t fast. I believe that life is too short for unnecessary self-deprivation; I also have never given anything up for Lent, firstly because I am not remotely religious, secondly, because I am not dangerously addicted to anything; and if I were, I should really be giving it up for life, not for just for Lent. I am however (funnily enough…) more than happy to partake in the feasting that often precedes or follows a fast. Shrove Tuesday, or pancake day, is one of those such occasions that I am willing to revel in. Pancakes, in all of their many forms, are one of the most simple and satisfying foods you can make, and are the best way to create an impressive breakfast or brunch (or dinner!). As much as I love the classic British pancake with lemon and sugar, or a stack of fluffy American ones drizzled with maple syrup, if you want to make an impressive breakfast with minimal amount of effort (no standing at the stove flipping endless pancakes) then it’s got to be a Dutch baby. (more…)

Red Velvet Brownies With Oreo Cream Cheese Mousse & Chocolate Ganache

red velvet brownies with oreo cream cheese mousse and ganache Do you ever get a niggling idea in your head that just won’t go away? The seedling of a fully formed plan that intrudes on your thoughts and gets stuck in your mind, germinating, until it is eventually transformed into a brilliant, fully-fledged idea…. It started with mousse. All I knew at that point is that I wanted to make some mousse of some sort. I sat on that idea for a couple of weeks, in the meantime planning Valentines day baking, which got me thinking about red velvet…which got me thinking about cream cheese, because what is a red velvet cake without the iconic cream cheese icing?! (It’s the best bit!) My mind put the cream cheese and the mousse together… then spread it on top of some red velvet brownies… and added ganache, and then threw in some oreos for good measure… And red velvet brownies with oreo cream cheese mousse and chocolate ganache were born! (more…)

Chocolate Cherry Challah

chocolate cherry challah braided bread

I had a whole load of egg yolks left over from making meringue kisses the other day and obviously didn’t want to throw them away, so had to come up with something to make with them. The obvious choice was ice cream but I already had a freezer full so didn’t really want to add any more to it, and wasn’t in the mood for any kind of custard based desserts, I was kind of in the mood to bake some bread though. Challah is a traditional Jewish enriched bread made with eggs or egg yolks so was the perfect recipe to use them up. I always prefer to make some soft of flavoured bread rather than a plain loaf though, so I had a rifle through my baking supplies cupboard (which I am trying to clear out a bit, it has become slightly overflowing…) and came across a jar of morello cherries which I had bought a while ago as they were on offer and subsequently forgotten about. I figured that they would work well in a loaf of bread and decided that as “chocolate cherry challah” had a nice ring to it that is what I would go for. (more…)

Mini Chocolate Raspberry Cakes For Two

mini chocolate raspberry cakes

It can be difficult baking cakes when there are just two of you to eat it…you either end up eating way more cake than is healthy, or it ends up in the freezer. I try to bake larger cakes and batches of cupcakes only when there is a party to take them to, or when we have people visiting. But sometimes there is no occasion to bake for and you just really want cake…. And that’s where these mini cakes are perfect. The recipe makes exactly two portions of cake, and you don’t even need to buy any special cake tins as they are baked in regular (clean, empty) food tins, the kind that tinned tomatoes, baked beans, soup etc come in. (I used 400g ones – the most common tin size)

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Raspberry Meringue Kisses

pink raspberry meringues

I don’t really buy into the idea of Valentines day, I’m not keen on the idea of forced romance…I prefer a little more spontaneity when it comes to that kind of thing. I do however enjoy playing with food colouring and given that at this time of year it is practically mandatory to dye everything pink or red I might as well make the most of it!

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Esterhazy Torte (Hazelnut & Chocolate Layer Cake)

For the month of January Jelena from A Kingdom for a Cake invited us to start this year with a dreamy celebration cake. She challenged us to make the Esterhazy cake a.k.a the Hungarian dream. What better way to start the year than with a sweet dream?

chocolate hazelnut esterhazy cake

This months daring bakers challenge was an Esterhazy torte – a rich Hungarian cake comprised of five layers of toasted hazelnut dacquoise filled with a hazelnut buttercream made with egg yolks which is traditionally topped with glace icing and a chocolate cobweb pattern. I decided to change things up a little bit because I thought that the traditional recipe was a little lacking in something…chocolate! Because why have a plain hazelnut cake when you can have a chocolate hazelnut cake…?! And I am very glad I did change the recipe because the cake ended up tasting like a giant Ferrero Rocher!

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