Monday, 17 December 2012

Speaking of Masterchef...

Here is a link to one of my favourite pages at the moment, the lovely Michel Roux Jnr facial expressions. If you've been watching the programme, you will understand what I mean. I wish someone could make a gif for me, I'd sit and watch all day.... he's just got one of those faces!


Its been a while....

Gosh, where has the time gone, before you know it, you take a bit of time off and its nearly Christmas! I've still been baking mind, just not really blogging about it. Things like The Great British Bakeoff and Masterchef are still my favourites. I'm on Instagram (Angelbar1) so you can follow me there for some delights of what I have been up to...

In the meanwhile, I shall endeavour to return to blogging soon with some updated posts! 


Sunday, 17 June 2012

Funfetti Pastel Swirl Cake

So I first saw the idea of a swirl cake here and also a funfetti cake here on Sweetapolita's blog. I have to admit, she really makes baking look so easy and I'm fangirling a little..

I really wanted to try something a little different than the usual cupcakes I make. 

This has to be one of my favourite recipes for the cake, I use it all the time for cupcakes, its so simple and easy and quick! Iused the lovely pastel colours of purple, pink and blue... It looks a little like a sunrise. I do like these colours, but next time I might try orange and yellows and do a sunset type look.

Or what colours would you choose for a swirl cake? Let me know.

Monday, 21 May 2012

Pomegranate Cream Macarons

So a while ago, I discovered something amazing called LorAnn oils, flavouring essences. These little beauties open up the possibility for so many things. By mistake I got sent the pomegranate one, but I'm starting to believe it was meant to be. My immediate thought was pomegranate macarons; and this is how these darling macarons came about.

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Peanut butter cookies with honey buttercream

Its the weekend, its cold and rainy and I'm feeling a little poorly, so sitting on the sofa and watching telly, craving comfort food (again!). So I had a little ponder in my baking cupboard and was going to just make some peanut butter cookies on their own, then thought it would be much more tastier to make it with a cream filling... hmm, but what? I've read somewhere that peanut butter and honey is the new version of the peanut butter and jelly / syrup combo and they're not wrong. Its quite the match made in a dream baker's heaven. The ever so slight salty crunch of the peanut butter in the biscuit combined with the sweet buttercream makes this sound rather ambiguous, but honestly it works!

Friday, 20 April 2012

Quick and easy vanilla cupcakes

Sometimes you just want comfort food and you don't want to make a huge fuss, or you just don't have the time. Its been a busy few weeks and I have been up and down the country going to weddings(!), then it was Easter and yet I haven't done much baking. Shameful! But, to be honest, I have been trying to sort of be good; my jeans just don't fit like they used to and I need to start getting fit for the 10km run I've volunteered myself for in the summer...

But the fact that this awful English weather is hanging about just makes me want to stay indoors and avoid the outside world. Seriously, getting caught in heavy downpours aint fun. I couldn't go for a run so instead made my all time favourite vanilla cupcakes and played with some purple colouring.  This pleases me. I hate being in the kitchen cooking but get me some flour and sugar and eggs and I'm in there pronto! Surely I can't be the only one....

Monday, 19 March 2012

St Patrick's Day green velvet cupcakes and shamrock cookies

Yes, I'm aware that this post is a few days late; one day I'll make it on time. In all fairness I did make the goods before St Patrick's Day, does that count? And I've been a bit busy, packing up and moving from the countryside to north London and then unpacking and getting used to a new kitchen (and new oven, which does now work). All these things take time, and yes, good things come to those who wait!  Haha, pun intended and yes I did get to enjoy some guinness over the weekend.

So, green velvet cupcakes... my goodness. What a pilaver. I ran out of green colouring and it ended up looking like pond green sludge. But from the outside it still looks alright, well sort of. Had to hide the cupcakes with lots of yummy cream cheese frosting. But the main thing is, they tasted amazing.

Not to forget the shamrock cookies, the dough I used, meant that you have to chill them overnight. So that took some time, but you know what, sandwiched together with buttercream frosting and these little beauties are worth all the time spent.

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Courgette and pistachio cake

Spring is springing and this is a good thing.

Whilst down in the West Country visiting my parents this weekend, I happened across a copy of my mum's Good Housekeeping and they had a lovely recipe for a courgette and pistachio cake... and as luck would have it, I had just bought a cake tin with a hole in it - like a Bundt tin. Good times.

So on a mission we went to find some courgettes, but its not really the season yet I discovered. I should know this. It was last summer that I first attempted courgette cake, sort of like a carrot like with the cream cheese frosting but a bit greener and slightly more gooier than spongey, I'm guessing due to the amount of water contained in courgettes. For this reason, its best to add a little more flour than required. But yes, we eventually managed to find some courgettes, thank you Mr independent grocer!

I would rather buy roasted salted pistachios and shell them myself. There's something about this shelling process that I find soothing. I just love how the salty taste of the outer skin of the pistachios works with the sugar, like a sweet / salty texture so its not overly sickening with the drizzle icing. You could just used unsalted pistachios if you are watching your salt intake.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Valentine gingerbread "loveshack" house

So this is part two for Valentine's Day, I've had this idea of a 'loveshack' for ages, pretty much since when I created the last gingerbread house just before Christmas. I thought to myself, I want to build this house again but I can't wait for Christmas. What's in between now and then... ahh Valentine's, ooh I could do something there, and the thought just came to me, so now I can't stop singing the B52s song, 'loveshack, baby loveshack'! Its terribly cute and lovely. All those hearts everywhere, I searched sweet shops high and low for all different kinds of sweeties.... and I'm pleased with the result.... 

Friday, 17 February 2012

Chocolate Amaretto Truffles for Valentine's Day

So yes, I'm aware that I'm a bit late with this posting, but trust me, the efforts I have had to go to in order to get this online. 'Nuff said really.

I wanted to make something lovely for Valentine's day, I'm such a softie (wait till you see what else I made), lol. 

I love this box - its so cute from paperchase and I fell in love with it instantly. And these chocs are just soo delicious, you don't know how tempting this process was. Truffles don't take too much time really, just depends on what you want the product to look like so that plays a part ... and patience, lots of it! A perfect pressie for any time of the year...

Monday, 6 February 2012

Chinese New Year cookies

So I'm a bit behind on this posting - I was trying to get this sorted for the start of the Chinese new year which is now about 2 weeks ago, but better late than never.

This particular chinese new year celebrates the year of the dragon - which is me. Apparently its supposed to be a good year for luck... I'm still waiting for that, but I shall be patient.

Every year in London, they have a celebration in Trafalgar Square and Soho. So off I went to brave the cold (and train delays, I might add) to go and partake in the experience of all things Chinese. After some alfresco chicken and noodles we followed the crowds around Soho, in search of the dragon who visits all the restaurants and eats the lettuce or vegetables left out for him. This is a form of good luck and fortune for the restaurants I am told.

So this year I made some chinese cookies, 4 different varieties; sesame seed, peanut butter, almond and fortune cookies. I have no idea which is my favourite - they are all just really yummy and moreish and really didn't last long at all!

Monday, 23 January 2012

Lemon & ginger biscuits

So the weather's been a bit rubbish lately (this is England after all), and January is just depressing and I really can't wait for February (a certain person's birthday, ahem!) aswell as my sisters', on the same day I should add!! I digress.. but basically I just want it to be spring.

I've also had a bit of a horrid week, so as the saying goes, when life gives you lemons, just bypass the tequila and buy some lemons down the market and get baking! Oh and while you're there, get some daffodils too!

This recipe really appealed to me and lemon and ginger are supposed to be calming, or is that just the tea? Either way, these didn't disappoint.

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Rum 'n raisin fudge pressies

My mum lives a fair way off from me so she's not always around to taste the delectables I make from time to time so I thought I'd make something special for her for Christmas... some fudge. My mum and I went to Bath last year and watched someone making fudge, their technique of pushing the fudge around with a paddle on a marble table and by someone so young aswell. Nonetheless the beating process is what makes the fudge all smooth and not at all crumbly or crystallised.

Fudge I find, isn't the easiest thing to make, it depends on which recipe version you use, I've seen recipes with glucose syrup, condensed milk, marshmallows and others where you need to use a sugar thermometer. I can't be fussed with that, so I just used an old trusted recipe with condensed milk. But because it takes a while to cook, next time I might just boil the tin of condensed milk in a pan of water for a few hours to caramelise (or you can just buy the caramel in a tin). That might speed up the process a bit I reckon. Oh and next time, I might use more rum....way more rum!!

Festive flapjacks with candied fruit and cherries and some brandy!

I absolutely adore flapjacks, or 'jackflaps' as my friends call them and I do tend to make them quite frequently. They are ever so quick and easy to make and are ideal for snacking on. The great thing about this recipe is you can always add different variations. I find that sometimes with all the fruit and syrup it can be a bit 'too sweet' for some or I'm rather conscious of the amount of sugar used so I use honey instead of syrup to try to convince myself its a bit healthier...

Thursday, 5 January 2012

My first ever gingerbread house!

Working in central London sure has its bonus points, being a stone throw's from Fortnum & Mason is an example. I simply love their Christmas decorations this year, they've gone all Moulin Rouge with their corsets and costumes and irresistable chocolate thrown in around the scene.. So I went and had a proper look at all the food and gift sets you can buy. Bearing in mind, this is way out of my league budget wise, I still like a nosey around.

..and they had gingerbread houses, but small ones (!) - so I decided I was gonna do one better than them, lol. We shall see..

I wanted to make this with my nieces but it ended up being myself and my big sister on Christmas eve ... and we had so much fun with this, with a glass of wine or two I might add.

A Penguin's Christmas Cake

So, I've never actually really made a proper Christmas cake from start to finish, I've done in between bits 'n pieces, but never the whole shebang! So this year, I'm going to do the best one ever.... haha!  And to decorate it, well my sister and my nieces have a thing about penguins... something about that movie Happy Feet perhaps. Well I decided to combine the two.

Having never actually made a fruit cake from scratch before, I decided to consult the oldest and best recipe (apparently) from the one and only Delia -  its only fair! So this is my take on her classic Christmas cake.