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Posts Tagged ‘baking’

Last week my mum and I went on a last-minute city break to Avignon where we indulged in sunshine, shopping and lots and lots of beautiful food. Since coming back I’ve been on a Provençal cooking kick having been overloaded with inspiration on our mini holiday. Just wandering around the wonderful indoor market is enough to make you want to sell up and move to France: the stalls were overflowing with all manner of heirloom tomatoes; tiny, round green and yellow courgettes; plump purple- and white-flecked aubergines; strings of garlic; fat bundles of fresh herbs and about 20 types of onion. The delis had big bowls of ratatouille to take home and reheat alongside stuffed tomatoes, rabbit stew, individual egg and vegetable flans and roasted meats. Hams and whole salamis hung above mountains of olives and the boulanger oppostie sold crunchy, fresh sourdough bread, fougasse studded with nuts and apple tart by the slice. Other displays contained jewel-like candied fruits, macarons and iced, almond-shaped Calissons from nearby Aix. (more…)

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I like a fancy cake as much as the next person, probably more so. Crumbly tops, fruity fillings, chocolate, they all float my boat. But so do basic, unassuming cakes, ones that seem almost dull in their simplicity. In fact, the more simple the cake, the better it has to be; there are no whistles or bells or, you know, lashings of frosting, to hide behind. It doesn’t get much more easy than this one-step cake and, to my mind, it doesn’t get much better. (more…)

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Can you tell I’ve been on a bread-making kick since my course with Emma? Every weekend I’ve been baking something new and sitting on my bedside table is Elizabeth David’s English Bread and Yeast Cookery with tags sticking out left, right and centre. And despite flagging up so many recipes to try; last weekend I went ahead and made a loaf without following a recipe, just using my “bakers instinct”. It actually turned out really well, I’m so pleased I made a note of the ingredients as I went because I know I’m going to be making this again. It is superb with cheese and wine, alongside a salad or simply smeared with a little butter and devoured.

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I expect a lot of people will have already seen recipes for this fabulous Estonian bread doing the rounds on the net. I first came across it on Pinterest and found the recipe on Romanian cooking blog Just Loves Cookin which has a great step-by-step photo guide on shaping . It’s such a pretty loaf that I couldn’t wait long before trying to make my own. As you can see from the pics, I need a little more practice shaping the ring but I’m still quite pleased with the result. The taste is, unsurprisingly, as good as any cinnamon roll – rich, buttery and caramelised. The layers you create by rolling the dough fan out as they bake and turn into crunchy, dark golden ridges hiding soft, sweet bread rippled with spice. (more…)

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Hmm, for a blog with cake in the title it feels like it’s been a while since I posted a cake recipe. It’s been a whole seven weeks since the Portuguese orange cake and my afternoon mug of tea has been missing its usual partner in crime. I’m nibbling on the last slice of this most recent cake and sipping a giant mug of Yorkshire tea as I write and trying in vain not to get too many crumbs over the desk, the keyboard and myself. It’s not a massively crumbly cake, the moist apricots help hold things together but I’m genetically destined to be a messy eater, just ask my mother. As a child I had cake crumbs in my tummy button more often than not. (more…)

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I know I’m very late to the party in buying David Leite’s wonderful book The New Portuguese Table but better late than never eh? Since treating myself last month I’ve been working my way through some Portuguese delights such as a lighter version of mayonnaise flavoured with ginger and corriander and an unusual but delicious milk liqueur. We’ve been through quite a number of eggs, a lot of chorizo and dozens of oranges and enjoyed every recipe. Unfortunately for the UK cook, the recipes all use cups – not a problem if you have a set but it does create more washing up. I’ve been converting to grams as I go so the following recipe is scale-friendly. (more…)

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Apple crumble pie was my Valentine’s gift to my husband (I’ll make an effort not to bore you with adulation but he’s awesome). He’s an excellent crumble maker and connoisseur and it’s rare that I can produce a crumble that measures up to his; he also makes a mean pie, mainly of the chicken variety. Perhaps I was setting the bar rather too high when I aimed to woo him with his signature dish? To my mind I was aiming to produce the ultimate in desserts by combining two of his three favourite puddings (there was no way I was trying to fit a cheesecake into the mix but, having said that, I’m now plotting some kind of apple crumble cheesecake). So, in order to surpass his best efforts, I knew I had to go further than just sitting a plain old crumble atop a pie crust.

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