I’ve said it before, Spring is the best time of year and I feel like I’ve celebrated this with my Wisteria cake. Sugarpaste flowers are dotted around but they aren’t the star of the show, the frills battle it out with the dark cascading blooms for the top spot. I love the ‘billowy’ nature of this design – I feel like if a summer breeze was to whistle by the frills and the wisteria would sway around lazily. Or maybe I’m just a little swept up in the joy of seeing flowers popping up to say hello everywhere I look?! Anyway, here’s a few close up pictures (apologies as I kind of went picture crazy on this blog entry!)
Originally posted on Putney Farm:
Make. These. Biscuits. If you take anything from this post, make the biscuits. Trust us. The extra step is a bit of a fuss, but the biscuits you get are just sooo much better. And…
I was lucky enough to be sent a little taster of Sugar and Crumbs ‘salted caramel naturally flavoured icing sugar‘ so wanted to give the flavour a chance to shine – so this called for MACARONS! I must admit I was worried that the flavoured icing might be tinted in colour but it was a beautiful, crisp white, perfect for letting you play around with designs and colours yourself! Also, it gives you a little surprise when you bite into the macaron, as it appears to be a simple buttercream, then you get a POW of flavour! Everybody loved them.
If you have never tried making them, don’t be scared just give it a go, here’s a simple macaron recipe to follow.
NOTE: Make sure you SIEVE YOUR GROUND ALMONDS, it takes ages (moan) so if you have a blender, then blitz them for a bit instead – it makes such a difference to the smoothness of your finished macaron. It makes no difference to the flavour though, but for a lovely smooth surface on your macaron, my advice is blitz!
Perfect Party Macarons! don’t you think?
The 1st painted cake for 2014, inspired by fruit trees and fields in Tuscany
A present from me to me, the Flavour Thesaurus.
Cake Pops! (click here for blog post and How To Guide)
“I am Paul Smith” exhibition at The Design Museum, London
Yesterday I was given a lovely batch of homemade marmalade,
So today a sticky Marmalade Cake was in the oven! (recipe)
The friendly Sugar and Crumbs have sent me some tasters of naturally flavoured icing sugars,
I can’t wait to try them out! *stay tuned*
Today I tried making my first cake pops. I used a light lemon sponge which I blitzed and mixed with a raspberry buttercream until it was like a dough consistency. I rolled the mix into balls, dipped the end of the cake pop sticks into the balls and then froze them for about 20 mins. For the chocolate dip I melted 50% dark chocolate and 50% milk ‘covering’ chocolate, to make it less likely to crack I also added a drop or two or vegetable oil. I used a microwave to melt it down, just make sure you stir it once and a while.
Once the pops are re-frozen dip and twizzle them in the melted chocolate, you need the thermo-reaction to cool and harden the chocolate, it works a treat. Then all you have to do is work out how to let them rest without ruining all your hard work – I stuck them into a boxed which I had pre-skewered little holes into, which worked ok! (lots of people use Styrofoam cake dummies)
I really like the ones which are a bit messy, when i dusted gold onto them they look like galaxy, space pops!
I’ve always wanted to bake a Stollen and was told Dan Lepard’s recipe was a goodun’… So I went for it.
I’m a huge fan of Christmas breads and love all the spices, however, I’m never happy with the dry ones you get at the supermarkets and hate paying a fiver for a tiny slice from a Christmas market (oh hello Scrooge!)
So I made this one, IT WAS MASSIVE! So I’ve wrapped up slices to give away to friends for a tea time treat (not so Scrooge-like)
The funky paper is from my very talented friends Polly and Chris’ magazine, Wrap, check them out for inspirational illustration and wrapping paper galore.
I did leave the bread to rise all day as needed to go Christmas shopping, but it was in a big bowl and it didn’t go beserk, so feel free to mix it in the morning and then get on with your day and in the evening, make the house smell AMAZING and bake the beast!
If you don’t already know, twickenham’s Blackbird Bread have a bread making class happening, and since I am friends with this feathered family I got to go along and help out, do some dishes and also sharpen my bread skills, which were lacking after 8 months of travelling and not much experience before that. Anyway, since then I have been baking bread as often as I have a time to spare, and recommend you folk give it a bash too.
For a lovely crusty fluffy white loaf visit blackbird bread’s recipe.
Follow all the guides there, making sure you don’t rush the proving times and also making sure you don’t cut into your incredible loaf until it’s completely cool from the baking, if you want it warm, sack it in the toaster or oven again…but I doubt you will want to wait any longer to dig in!
Last night I tried making Dan Lepard’s Extra Moist Stollen it’s something I have always wanted to bake and now it is resting for a day or two to get a nice set on the icing and butter crust….I might have to just get the knife to it later though as I’m desperate to see if it surpasses the dry crappy ones they over charge you for in the shops. That’s a picture of it dusted with icing, there is rum and all sorts in the recipe, so I’m hoping it’s amaze balls.
The plaited loafs in the picture and so satisfying to make, after I was confident my timings were good and I knew how the dough needed to feel I went for a plait. I waited a bit longer for the last rise, as there is a lot going on, so wait an hour instead of 45 mins. The monotone loaf was great, I used a mixed seed and grain flour (check the supermarket shelves but I think it was Allinsons range) then before it went in the oven, after I sprayed with water, I patted on poppy seeds to one side and dusted flour to the other. It got eaten in one hit last Sunday with a broccoli soup. Also for this loaf I substituted milk for water, adds an extra yumminess.
In the first photo there is a soda bread, all farmhouse looking, they are super quick to make (45mins!) so if you need a fix after work, GET INVOLVED, you don’t need to knead it or prove it or even use bread flour, so you probably have all the ingredients in the cupboard, bonus.
It’s been a month since I have been back in the UK and I have spent most of that time playing in the kitchen! It’s been lovely!
So, with Christmas on the horizon, I want to introduce you to my Cookie Boxes which are available now to order for £30.
Hand painted snow globe cookies will sit all snug in a box amongst Lemon and Thyme Shortbread, Coconut Ice, Iced Vanillla Biscuits and my favourite, a Family of Fiery Gingerbread! What else do you need?
They come all boxed up with a bow – ready to give to someone special, or ready to jump into yourself with a pot of tea, I’m not judging!
Contact me if you fancy a sweet treat, I’m based in Twickenham, London and will be available for pick up on 23rd December. YUM!