Sunday, 11 October 2015

Autumn/ Fall Leaves Cake

Let me start by saying I love Autumn. The leaves falling off the trees in glistening colours, hot chocolates by the fire, sweaters, pumpkin spiced everything, bobble hats, dark lipstick, fluffy coats and winter spiced candles. There's literally nothing better. 

But in England we forget that along with all the wonderful synonyms of Autumn comes with coming out of work when it's nearly pitch black, trudging through the sludge of semi melted snow, frozen finger tips and having to wear 10 pairs of socks to keep warm. However I think that the positives outweigh the slight in conveniences, so I decided to make an Autumn leaves inspired cake, covered in fondant sparkly leaves, pumpkins and the occasional acorn. 

 This time of year reminds me of Ed Sheeran's song Autumn Leaves, definitely worth a listen! 
Hope you have an amazing autumn Xx

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Delicious Coffee Cake with Coffee Buttercream

There's nothing better than a coffee in the morning.. or let's be honest any time of the day really, so I thought I'd take my love for the caffeinated drink and put it into a cake which I can drink with the coffee throughout the day! This recipe has lashings of coffee buttercream too, perfect - especially because it's a recipe from baking queen Mary Berry.

On to the recipe: 
Coffee Cake
225g soft butter
225g dark brown sugar
225g self raising flour (sieved) 
1 tsp baking powder
4 eggs
4 tsp instant coffee disolved in 1tsp boiling water (left to cool) 
Victoria sponge tin
Coffee Buttercream 
175g butter
350g icing sugar
4 tsp instant coffee disolved in 1tsp boiling water (left to cool) 

1. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/350F/315F fan/Gas 4. 
2. Butter and line the base of your 2 tins. 
3. Measure all the cake ingredients, except the coffee, into a large mixing bowl and beat together until smooth. 
4. Stir in the dissolved coffee until thoroughly blended. Divide the mixture evenly between the two prepared tins and level the tops.
5. Bake in the preheated oven for about 25–30 minutes until golden brown, shrinking away from the sides of the tin and the sponge springs back when lightly pressed.
6. To make the icing, mix the butter and sugar together in a mixing bowl and beat together until smooth. 
7. Beat in the dissolved coffee and divide into four. 
8. When they are cold, slice each cake horizontally in half, giving four layers of cake. 
9. Sit one base on a cake stand and spread with a quarter of the mixture. Continue layering up with cake and icing so you finish with icing on top and swirl to give an attractive finish.

There you have it! A perfect alternative to a cup of coffee in the morning... or accompanying one
Enjoy xxx

Monday, 21 September 2015

Summer Adventures- Travel Themed Royal Icing Macaroons/Macarons

It’s nearing the end of September and for a lot of us that means that the stippling work and school monotonous routine is in full swing. Over the summer we probably planned of going on adventures and seeing the world, travelling as much as we can with the aspiration of broadening our mind sets and photo albums. In late August, in September’s shadow, I thought how upsetting it was that month of exploration had come to an end, granted some of the more lack lustre days had consisted of Netflix, fluffy blankets and purring cats, but none the less the thought of college was dreary. To many people the idea of a routine, a day consisting in the same environment, surrounded with the same people, the same sounds, seems satisfying. However, although the routine is safe, familiar and comforting it has always bemused me how there are 196 countries, 7 billion people and a multitude of cuisine and cultures that we probably haven’t experienced, although schooling has the monotonous mantra of ‘you must be well versed and acclaim academic excellence’ they don’t teach you that there are tulip fields in the Netherlands so brightly coloured they’re a work of art or that there’s a hidden beach in Mexico created by bomb.
Granted not everyone has the funding to visit such elaborate places, however just exploring a town a few miles out of your way, meeting people you’ve never spoken to or walking around the countryside will fulfill you with a refreshing sense of adventure that no reality show on Netflix could provide.
People such as youtubers Jack Harries and Louis Cole have realised that the quote from  The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is true ‘“To see the world, things dangerous to come to, to see behind walls, draw closer, to find each other, and to feel. That is the purpose of life.”

So I decided to bake some macaroons – travel inspired for everyone feeling like their summer adventures had come to an end.

On to the recipe (makes around 20): 
Macarons - 
175g icing sugar
125g ground almonds
3 large egg whites
75g caster sugar
pinch of salt 
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon blue food colouring (preferably gel)
piping bag 

300g sieved icing sugar
150g butter
1 tsp blue food colouring (or however much until you get the desired colour)
piping bag

Royal Icing- 
1.5 oz warm water
1.25 tablespoons meringue powder
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
225 icing sugar (powdered sugar for all the americans)
piping bags
black food colouring

1. Preheat your oven to gas mark 3/160C
2. Line tins with parchment paper but NOT BUTTER as if will falter the macarons
3. Sieve the ground almonds and icing sugar into a large bowl (this will prevent the macaroons from being lumpy on top, add the salt and cream of tartar to the bowl
4. Whisk the egg whites until they form soft peaks
5. Add the sugar to the egg whites until they form glossy stiff peaks, do not over whisk
6. Fold in the almond mixture into the egg white until the mixture is smooth but do not over mix
7. Add blue food colouring and gently stir in - the colour always dims once cooked
8. Place into a piping bag with a 1cm nozzle (or just cut the end to 1cm)
9. Pipe 3cm rounds of the mixture on to the tray 
10. Tap the baking tray on the surface to create the foot (Little frilly edges)
11. Leave out for 30 minutes - 1 hour
12. Place into over and cook for 15 minutes
13. Leave to cool and start on the icing
14. Whisk together the icing sugar and butter until the mixture is pale and smooth and add the food colouring - place into a piping bag with a round nozzle
15. Fill generously 1 half of the macaron and sandwich the other half together
16. Get started on the royal icing, combine the meringue powder and water - whisk for 30 seconds
17. Add the cream of tartar and continue to whisk for another 30 seconds
18. Add the icing sugar and whisk for 10 minutes 
19. Place half into a piping bag with a minuscule slit in the end - so the white icing is fine
20. Colour the other half with black food colouring so the icing turns a grey shade, place into another piping bag with a small slit
21. Pipe whatever designs float your adventurous boat - whether that be a boat, or a compass, or map, or plane or Tumblr saying

There you have it, a delicious adventure inspired macaroon - enjoy x

Sunday, 6 September 2015

Nutty Millionaire Hazelnut Shortbread

Millionaire shortbread is a firm family favourite of mine, filled with caramel, shortbread and chocolate - there's nothing better! Combine that with a hazelnut flavour and topped with a hefty helping of nuts, it's practically paradise. 

On to the recipe:
Shortbread base
250g plain flour
75g caster sugar
175g soften butter
1. Pre-heat oven to 180C and grease a round tin (preferably the size of a victoria sponge tin)
2. Cut the soften butter into cubes
3. Mix the caster sugar and plain flour into a large bowl
4. Add the soften butter and rub it into the flour sugar mixture until fine bread crumbs form
5. Kneed until the mixture becomes a dough
6. Place into the base of the tin and press flat
7. Prick the shortbread with a fork about 10 times
8. Bake in the oven for around 20 minutes or until lightly browned
9. Remove and allow to cool

Hazelnut Caramel
100g butter
100g brown (muscavado) sugar
2 tins of condensed milk
5 drops of hazelnuts flavouring
1. Whilst the shortbread base is cooling or in the oven cooking get started with the caramel
2. Combine the butter, sugar, hazelnut flavouring and condensed milk into a medium sized pan
3. Stir on a low heat until the sugar has dissolved
4. Crank the heat up and allow the mixture to boil - stiring continuously (great work out!)
5. Once boiling, reduce the heat so the mixture simmers for around 15 - 20 minutes (be careful not to burn)
6. Pour the caramel on top of the shortbread and allow to completely cool before going on to the chocolate stage.

Chocolate and Nut top
1000g dark chocolate
2 handfuls of finely chopped nuts (I used brazil nuts , almonds, hazelnuts and pecans)
1. Melt the chocolate either in 30 second blasts in the microwave or over a bain marie of simmering water in a heat proof bowl.
2. Allow to slightly cool and scatter the nuts on top
3. Place back into the fridge for around 30 minutes

There you have it, an amazing millionaire shortbread with a twist! Enjoy xx

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Local Wolves August Article

For years I have skimmed the pages of the Local Wolves magazine, blissfully unaware that I would one day be writing an article for them or have my portrait plastered on one of the pages. Luckily enough I was offered the chance to write an article based on the food culture of London and to show the best places to eat in the city; which did involve some research of sampling food, but I'm not complaining! Whilst working on this project I got to meet talented, enthusiastic chefs, buisness owners and workers who gave an interesting insight to their companies; it was amazing hearing them talk so passionately about the industry - such a Maitre Choux, Peggy Porschen and the Cereal Killer Cafe to name a few. One of the highlights was getting to work with the talented photographer Mila Austin without whom the stunning photographs would not have been possible. 

Local Wolves is an incredible online/print publication which give an insight to innovative people and the work they're doing to express there passion for different creative outlets. It was amazing to share the pages with talented individuals such as Aidan Alexander, Blake Steven and Lauren Riihimaki (Laurdiy) and previous cover stars include Troye Sivan, Amanda Stelle, Ben Brown, Alexa Losey and Charly Cox. You can read the August article here and purchase a physical copy here (which always look more instagram ready if you ask me).  

I would like to thank Cathrine Khom for the opportunity to write in such a unique magazine and share the hidden food gems of London with the readers.

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Black Forest Gateau Inspired: Snickers Brownie with Cherry Mousse and a Cherry Sauce

Personally, I think there's nothing better than a traditional Black Forest Gateau, but in the summer months it tends to seem rather heavy and not the type of dessert you could sit on a deckchair basking in the sun devouring. So I decided to make a dessert with the same flavours as a Black Forest Gateau but a little more refined and delicate; and because you really can't beat a chocolate snickers brownie with lashings of cherry cream.   

Now, due to the several different components this recipe may seems slightly longer than the others, but as Miranda Hart would say 'bear with' it's a really worth the effort
On with the recipe
200g plain flour
400g cocoa powder
300g caster sugar
250g melted butter
4 eggs
2 snickers bars
Either a deep rectangular or circular tin (we'll cut the brownies out anyway)
Circular cookie cutters
1. Preheat your oven to 175C/340F/Gas mark 4
2. Line your baking tin with grease proof paper and butter
3. Mix the plain flour, cocoa powder and caster sugar together in a large bowl
4. Add the melted butter, 4 eggs (already whisked) and snickers bar to the flour mixture
5. Stir until everything is thoroughly combined
6. Place into your baking tray and bake in the oven for 20 - 25 minutes (check to see if the mixture has a little wobble- that's the perfect time to take them out so they're nice and gooey in the middle)
7. Allow to cool

1 gelatin leaf rectangle (unflavoured)
1/4 cup(60ml of water)
1/3 cup (80ml of boiling water/or hot cherry syrup)
480ml double cream
300g chopped pitted cherries
150g caster sugar
1. In a small bowl or container add the cold water to the gelatin and let it soak for 2 minutes (if there is any excess water, drain it off the now softened gelatin
2. Add the boiling water or cherry syrup to the gelatin and stir until it has dissolved
3. Whip the cream until soft peaks form and add the caster sugar until there are stiff peaks
4. Add the gelatin mixture and cherries - cover and chill for 2 hours in the fridge
5. Once set, place into a piping bag with a circular nozzle, or skip this step if you'd like to spoon it over the top of the brownie later

1 tin of pitted cherries (approx 400g) 
100ml water
4 tbsp caster sugar
1tsp corn flour
1. Add the cherries, water and caster sugar in a pan over a medium heat
2. Bring to the boil and gently simmer for around 15 minutes
3. Mix the corn flour with 2 tsp of water until it forms a paste/liquid cohesive form
4. Add to the cherry mixture and stir for another 5 minutes (this will thicken the sauce)
5. Allow to cool (or serve warm if preferred)

There you have it, a luxurious treat of chocolate and cherries, Enjoy xxx

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Pretty Little Liars (PLL) Sugar Biscuits - Season 6 Finale

I genuinely cannot express how excited I am for the Pretty Little Liars mid season finale next week (August 11th), and I'm sure quite a few of you are buzzing like I am for it! So in honour of finally finding out who the illusive A is, I decided that there was no better way than baking some sugar cookies and decorating them PLL style with quotes and symbols of the programme.  

On to the recipe:
Ingredients -
Sugar Biscuits -
250g butter or margarine
140g caster sugar
1 egg yolk
2 tsp vanilla extract
500g plain flour (more or less depending on the consistency)
circular cookie cutters
baking tray
parchment paper
Icing (the best royal icing!)
1.5 oz warm water
1.25 tablespoons meringue powder
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
225g icing sugar (powdered sugar for the Americans reading)
piping bag
Black, blue and red icing sugar

1. Preheat your oven to 190C / 375F / Gas 5
2. Line 4 baking trays with greaseproof paper and butter
3. In a large bowl cream the butter and caster sugar until smooth
4. Combine the yolk and vanilla and add to the butter mixture
5. Sift in the plain flour and combine until the mixture is not sicky and can easily be rolled (if you haven't enough flour you could put the dough in the freezer or fridge to harden)
6. Flour the work surface and roll the mixture around 1/2 cm thick
7. Cut out the biscuits in a variety of circular shapes and place in the fridge for 30 minutes
8. Take out of the fridge and place in the oven for 10 minutes (remove one firm and slightly golden)
9. Leave to cool and make the icing
10. Combine the meringue powder and water and whisk for 30 seconds
11. Add the cream of tartar and continue to whisk for another 30 seconds
12. Add the icing sugar and whisk for 10 minutes
13. Seperate evenly into three bowls and colour one red, one navy (combine blue and black) and leave one white - these should be fairly thick
14. With the navy icing, pipe a circle around the outside of the circles
15. Now add around 2 tsp of warm water to the icing to create a watery paste, smooth this inside the circle (which prevents it from spill outside the edges) and leave in the fridge until set (around 5 minutes)
16. Now using the red and white colours you can pipe whatever quotes you'd like related to the show! My favourites were 'That's immortality my darlings' 'Welcome to the dolls house' '-A' ' I'm still here bitches, and I know everything' 'Friends share secrets, that's what keeps us close' 'You may be a dude, but you're still a bitch'. 

So there you have it, special PLL biscuits to celebrate all the questions we've had about the show finally being revealed! I'd love to know your theories about who A is, why he/she had been tormenting the girls and who killed Toby's mum! I hope you enjoy the finale on August 11th Xxx