Archive | March, 2013

Toffee Chocolate Matzah

28 Mar

It’s that time of year again… Yes its Easter but it’s also Passover, which means I can’t eat the lovely easter egg I got from work last night, boo!!

Passover means I can’t eat anything leavened for a whole week (what, no cake?!) So it means I have to be a little more creative with my baking! One thing that is in abundance at Passover is Matzah, a cracker that pretty much tastes like cardboard! So I decided to take matzah and transform it into something everyone wants to eat!

Toffee Chocolate Maztah

Toffee Chocolate Matzah

It’s so easy, ANYONE can make it!

Ingredients:

  • 220g unsalted butter (I used kosher for passover rose butter)
  • 215g brown sugar (I used demarera but ideally a finer sugar is better)
  • 5 matzah
  • Bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • Salt
  • 1tsp vanilla essence

Method:

  • Assemble 2 trays lined with foil, then baking parchment, and arrange your matzah on them, filling all gaps
  • Preheat oven to 180oC
  • Melt together butter and sugar over a medium heat, until it is bubbling away.
  • After cooking for a few minutes, take off heat, add a big pinch of salt and vanilla and mix
  • Pour caramel mixture over matzah and put on oven
  • The mixture should bubble up but not burn, so bake for 12-15 mins
  • Remove from oven and sprinkle over chocolate chips immediately
  • Leave for a few minutes, then use a spatchula to smooth the now melted chocolate into a thick layer over the caramel
  • Leave to harden then break up and serve to your guests, preferably with a cup of tea!
Layers of goodness!

Layers of goodness!

I can't even taste the matzah!

I can’t even taste the matzah!

Triple Creme Egg Brownies

22 Mar

These brownies are the epitome of decadence. Three layers. Plus some little extras. Oh and did I mentioned they have CREME EGGS baked into them? Yes. Get ready. These are the mother of all brownies. Slutty brownies, RELOADED!

 

Slutty Creme Egg Brownies

Slutty Creme Egg Brownies

 

Top view, melty creme egg goodness!

Top view, melty creme egg goodness!

 

Mmm stacked brownies!

Mmm stacked brownies!

 

And enjoy!

And enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • For the cookie dough base:
  • 200g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 300g light brown sugar
  • 180g melted unsalted butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 300g milk chocolate chunks
  • 1 packet Oreo Cookies
  • 1 packet cadbury mini eggs (optional but worth it!)
  • For the Brownie Layer:
  • 45g cocoa powder
  • 1½ teaspoons instant coffee mixed with:
  • 140ml boiling water
  • 60g dark chocolate, broken up
  • 60g melted unsalted butter
  • 140ml sunflower or vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 500g caster sugar
  • 220g plain flour
  • 8 Creme eggs

Method:

  • Make the cookie layer first by creaming together brown sugar and butter.
  • Whisk in eggs and vanilla bean paste until all combined
  • Sift in the dry ingredients and mix well
  • When ingredients are just combined, stir in chocolate chunks
  • Butter or grease 2 9×9 dishes (I used tinfoil)
  • Layer on the cookie dough base
  • Layer oreos on top and scatter on mini eggs
  • Make the brownie base by brewing the coffee, and siting in the cocoa powder, then melting the chocolate into the coffee mixture
  • Whisk in eggs and yolks until the mixture thickens
  • Add sugar and vanilla paste, and sift in the flour.
  • Mix well until everything is combined
  • Layer this on top of the brownies and bake for 40 mins at 1750C
  • After 40 mins, cut your creme eggs in half and layer on top, bake for a further 5-10 mins

If you can wait, leave to cool, then consume.. trust me you wont be able to stop! These are perfect for Easter, or just about any time of the year! I took inspiration from the Eric Lanlard creme egg brownies but adapted them to be even more delicious!

Are you baking anything special this weekend?

Tate and Lyle Tasting House

20 Mar

Last night felt like a dream, wandering through corridors of edible goodies, picking Macarons off banisters and eating pillows, taking bites out of a popcorn bath and picking apart a meringue rug….

But I wasn’t in a dream, I was in the Tate and Lyle Tasting House!

Enter into the tasting house

Enter into the tasting house

We were greeted with an array of macarons, covering the bannisters and every windowsill in sight!

Macaron Bannisters

Macaron Bannisters

 

Macarons displays ripe for the tasting!

Macarons displays ripe for the tasting!

The British golden syrup room was a wondrous display of golden syrup, one of my favourite baking ingredients.

Its the Golden Syrup lion!

Its the Golden Syrup lion!

Doughnut Tower

Doughnut Tower

 

Very Beritish Baking

Very British Baking

 

The second room we entered was the Pirates of the Carribean room, with a huge treasure chest made out of gingerbread! We spray painted our own gold doubloons, sampled the chocolate rum and raisin delights, and feasted on mountains of jewelled sweets!

An edible treasure chest of goodies

An edible treasure chest of goodies

An edible sword!

An edible sword!

Next we entered into the Mediterranean bedroom of delights, which might have been my favourite room!

Meringue rug of the sweetest, most delicious meringues I have ever tasted!

Meringue rug of the sweetest, most delicious meringues I have ever tasted!

 

Bath of caramel popcorn

Bath of caramel popcorn

 

Lustrous popcorn cupcakes

Lustrous popcorn cupcakes

From there, we entered into room of different edible delights, including a huge edible turtle, with real eggs filled with cake!

Turtle and eggs, all edible!

Turtle and eggs, all edible!

 

One of my favourite pieces was the 5 foot long Mardi Gras rainbow cake, so delicious I couldn’t tear myself away!

Taste the rainbow

Taste the rainbow

And the Easter Island mud cake statue!

Take a bite...

Take a bite…

Probably tying for my favourite room was the Mayan room, with a temple of fudge and delicious chocolate goodies, including a white chocolate heart filled with the gooiest salted caramel.

I worship your Sweetness!

I worship your Sweetness!

I genuinely had one of the best evenings of my life, and cant thank enough my buddies over at Tate and Lyle, Mischief PR and my lovely friend Gemma at GG Closet for getting me in to this wonderland!

I only wish I had some of the recipes for these amazing creations!

Chocolate Spice Cake

15 Mar

This cake reminds me of honeyed spice cake, very moist, but not too dense. It’s actually quite light and fluffy, with a gorgeously sweet Biscoff-Maple glaze!

Smoothed to Perfection

Smoothed to Perfection

The Recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 130g plain flour
  • 45g cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinammon
  • 3/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 55g dark brown sugar
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 235ml milk with a squeeze of jemon juice (you can use any milk here, even dairy free!)
  • 80ml sunflower oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • For the glaze:
  • 85g biscoff/speculoos
  • 125g icing sugar
  • 2 tsp maple syrup
  • Splash of milk
  • Chocolate to decorate (optional)

Method:

  • Sift the flour and cocoa powder into your mixing bowl or stand mixer, and add in the rest of the dry ingredients
  • Mix until well combined and no lumps remain
  • Add in the milk, oil and vanilla and mix well
  • Make sure all ingredients are well combined then pour into a lined loaf tin and bake on 175oC for 40-45 mins
  • When cake is baked, leave to cool and make the glaze
  • Sift in the icing sugar into a mixing bowl and add in the rest of the ingredients
  • Mix vigorously until you get a thick glaze
  • When cake is cooled, pour over the top and leave to set
  • I grated chocolate over the top for a pretty finish
Moist and fluffy spice cake

Moist and fluffy spice cake

 

Want a slice?

Want a slice?

 

Biscoff Brownies

13 Mar

Have you tries Biscoff yet? Have you?! Or Lotus spread, Cookie butter, Speculoos, whatever you like to call it! What is it? Only one of the best things to come in a jar… like EVER! It’s basically the spread version of those little biscuits you get with your coffee in Europe.

This stuff. Oh yeah.

This stuff. Oh yeah.

This stuff is like the holy grail… and I found it in Waitrose! (Of course – my favourite supermarket right now!)

I decided to make a few different things with it, so here’s the first recipe, frosted brownies!

Biscoff Brownies

Biscoff Brownies

The Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 115g unsalted butter
  • 115g dark chocolate
  • 300g caster sugar
  • Tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 2 eggs
  • 130g flour
  • 30g cocoa powder
  • For frosting:
  • 115g unsalted butter
  • 340g biscoff spread
  • 190g icing sugar
  • 1 tablespoon greek yogurt
  • Chocolate to decorate (optional)

Method:

  • Melt chocolate and butter in a bain marie
  • In your stand mixer, mix together sugar, eggs and vanilla bean paste
  • When chocolate mixture is cooled, mix into the sugar and egg mixture
  • Sift in the flour and cocoa powder and mix until well incorporated
  • Pour the mixture into a buttered or lined brownie pan and bake on 175oC for 30-35 mins
  • Leave brownie to cool and make frosting by sifting icing sugar, and adding softened butter and biscoff spread.
  • Whisk until well incorporated, then add yogurt to make the frosting nice and fluffy
  • When the brownie is cooled, spread the frosting and decorate as desired (I grated chocolate on top!)

These brownies were literally IMMENSE, no one could stop eating them!

Endorsed by the Metropolitan Police!

Endorsed by the Metropolitan Police!

More brownie action!

More brownie action!

I made these for a volunteering event, and they definitely kept everyone going. I would recommend these for a large party, as they will definitely keep everyone happy!

Vanilla Bean Scones

11 Mar

Morning Monday-haters! (Or lovers but i’m guessing most of you are haters!) I’m going to give you an easy peasy cutesy recipe to make your Monday a little less harsh (especially with some of us in the middle of a blizzard!)

For Mother’s Day yesterday I made a batch of heart shaped scones, which I really like fresh out of the oven with a dollop of jam (shhh don’t tell anyone I eat them so hot they burn my tongue!) This is my go to, never fail recipe, which even the most beginner baker can do!

All ready to be baked

All ready to be baked

 

The Recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 500g self raising flour
  • 110g unsalted butter
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 300ml milk (I use skimmed)
  • Dollop of vanilla bean paste
  • Beaten egg to glaze

Method:

  • Pour the flour into a large mixing bowl, and bring the butter to room temperature
  • Rub the butter into the flour with your fingers – this is where it gets messy!
  • When this forms a breadcrumb-like consistency, mix in the sugar, vanilla bean paste and milk, until it makes a sticky dough
  • Turn out onto a floured surface (I cover the workbench with cling film to minimise mess)
  • Knead a few times until the dough is less sticky
  • Roll out and use a heart or any cutter to form your scone shapes
  • Place on a baking sheet and use a pastry brush to glaze them with egg wash
  • Bake at 225oC for 12-15 mins until a nice brown top forms
  • Remove and eat hot or warm – I recommend a generous spoonful of jam with some clotted cream!

The simplest pleasures are often the best and this saying is definitely true for these quintessentially British scones!

 

Just out of the oven!

Just out of the oven!

Look at that lovely crack in the middle, just ready to prise open and fill with jam!

Look at that lovely crack in the middle, just ready to prise open and fill with jam!

 

A spot of lunch at Gail’s Kitchen

8 Mar

I don’t do many reviews on this blog, usually because I go to the same places and have the same things. But once in a while, a place really does capture my imagination!

Today I went to Gail’s Kitchen, the first restaurant by the Gail’s Bakery team, (of which I am a massive fan) situated just off Tottenham Court Road. The menu promised delicious small sharing plates, tapas style and changed daily. It is based in a lovely little boutique hotel, and from the moment you enter you get a calm feeling, away from the hustle and bustle of London.

We sat down to order, which took ages as none of us could decide what to have! It is lovely when you don’t eat meat or shellfish to have such a choice, and I really was spoilt.

I started off with the Mackerel Rillette, served with gorgeously nutty rye crackers and watercress.

Jar of mackerel anyone?!

Jar of mackerel anyone?!

 

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Mmm lovely leaves

The rillette was deliciously chunky and totally fresh, and was the watercress which complimented the sharp mackerel perfectly, and the rye crackers had a lovely nutty crunch. The presentation was just too cute!

Next up was the fennel, rocket, mint, parmesan and pomegranate salad sounded delicious and didn’t disappoint!

Fresh salad

Fresh salad

You don't make friends with salad, unless you go to Gail's!

You don’t make friends with salad, unless you go to Gail’s!

I have to say, I don’t usually order salad as I feel I can get it at home, but this dish sounded so inviting so I couldn’t refuse, and shared it with my colleague. I’m so glad I did as it was an amazing mish-mash of  different flavours – sweet, sour, minty and tangy all in one!

My last dish to arrive was the spinach rotolo with ricotta & wild mushrooms, a creamy if slightly over oiled dish of satisfying pasta.

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I didn’t think this would fill me up but it did, it was quite creamy and rich but I enjoyed it. I have to say that weirdly the salad was my favourite, the combination of flavours was just gorgeous!

Overall I really enjoyed my visit here, at £22 a head for lunch without drinks it wasn’t cheap btu well worth it for the quality of food! My friends had dished that they also enjoyed, such as the smoked prawns, the mini pizza and the raclette which all looked amazing, and I was assured tasted so too.

Creamy crusty raclette

Creamy crusty raclette

 

Mini pizza

Leek and ham pizza

 

Unfortunately I didn’t have time for my favourite course, dessert, but I will definitely be returning to try that course as I really enjoyed my meal here. I look forward to returning, this is definitely a great spot for a girls lunch!

Intensely Chocolatey Raspberry Brownies

4 Mar

Sometimes in life you just need a blowout. Especially before one embarks on a pre-holiday diet! So these are my rich, blowout brownies!

Dark chocolatey, intense, raspberry filled bites of goodness. Oh, with some sweet white chocolate drizzled on top. Drooling? You better be!

Chunky brownies

Chunky brownies

Recipe:

  • 115g unsalted butter, melted
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 110g light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 2 large eggs
  • 65g cocoa powder
  • 100g flour
  • 90g chopped dark chocolate (I used Bournville)
  • Punnet of fresh raspberries
  • 100g approx melted white chocolate for drizzling

Method:

  • Cream together butter and both sugars in your stand or hand mixer
  • Add in eggs and vanilla paste and mix until well combined
  • Sift in flour and cocoa powder until your batter takes on a thick constistency
  • Stir in your chocolate chips and raspberries
  • Pour into a brownie tin and bake on 175oC for 25-30 mins, until a stick inserted into the middle comes out clean
  • Cool completely and then drizzle melted white chocolate on top
  • SERVE!
James can't resist!

James can’t resist!

Chocolate chunkiness

Chocolate chunkiness

Close up!

Close up!

Recipe adapted from Sugarcrafter