Bread and Better

Bread and Better

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Spiced Orange and White Chocolate Cupcakes


I am rubbish at decorating cakes, I lack patience and a steady hand, so when I found these cute little edible toppers from My Cupcake Toppers I thought they would be the perfect thing to jazz up my festive bakes. They do loads of designs (not just festive themed ones), you can even create your own! You can now also get 10% off your first order by using BREAD10 at the checkout.




Makes 12 cupcakes.

For the cupcakes:

120g self raising flour
1 large egg
120g unsalted butter, softened
120g sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
Zest of one orange
1 teaspoon mixed spice
100g white chocolate

For the icing/filling:
150g unsalted butter, softened
250g icing sugar
1 tablespoon milk
Zest of one orange
12 cupcake toppers
Gold edible glitter
12 teaspoons marmalade




Pre-heat the oven to 160 degrees c.
Line a 12 hole muffin tin with cupcake cases.
Place the flour, egg, butter, sugar, baking powder, orange zest, mixed spice and white chocolate into the bowl of a freestanding mixer and mix using the paddle attachment until everything is well combined (you could use a hand-held mixer instead).
Spoon the mixture into the cupcake cases, filling them about 3/4 of the way up.
Bake the cupcakes for around 15 minutes, or until they have turned a light golden brown and are springy to the touch.
Remove the cakes from the tin and place them on to a wire rack to cool completely.
Make the icing by beating together the icing sugar, milk, unsalted butter and orange zest together in a freestanding mixer using the paddle attachment, until everything is well combined and the mixture has become white and fluffy.
When the cakes have cooled, make a hole in the centre, making sure you don't go straight down to the bottom (see picture, I used an apple corer but you could just use a teaspoon if you haven't got one).
Place a teaspoon of marmalade into each of the holes until all of the cupcakes are filled.
Using a small palette knife (or the back of a spoon) smooth the icing over the cupcakes, making sure you can't see any of the cake underneath.
Place a cupcake topper on top of each of the cakes and then sprinkle with the edible glitter.
These cupcakes will keep for a couple of days stored in an air-tight container at room temperate.






Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Candy Cane White Chocolate Mocha

A white chocolate mocha is definitely my coffee shop drink of choice. I have heard whispers off this festive flavoured twist on secret menus for a while now, but I have never dared stray from my usual order to try it myself. I have used peppermint cordial here instead of essence, after a disaster with an out of date bottle, but if you want to use essence, I would reduce the quantity to half a teaspoon.




Makes one mocha.


For the mocha:
1 mug of milk
30g white chocolate, broken into chunks
1 1/2 teaspoons peppermint cordial
1 teaspoon instant coffee

To serve (optional):
1/2 teaspoon cocoa powder, sifted
1 candy cane

Heat the milk, coffee and peppermint cordial on the hob, on a medium heat, until the milk just starts to bubble (make sure you stir well so that everything is combined).
Remove the milk mixture from the heat and leave to cool slightly, for around 30 seconds (because the white chocolate is very sensitive to heat).
Place the white chocolate into a large heat-proof bowl.
Pour the milk over the chocolate and stir well until all the white chocolate has melted and everything is well combined.
Pour the mocha into a mug and enjoy!


Saturday, 10 December 2016

Christmas Rolls

These deliciously sweet rolls combine all the nostalgic flavours of the festive season. The above-mentioned treats taste best whilst still a little warm, served alongside a mug-full of lightly spiced mulled wine.


Makes 15 rolls.

For the rolls:
450g strong white flour
7g dried yeast
½ pint of milk
80g butter
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons mixed spice

For the filling:
1 jar of mincemeat (around 400g)
200g marzipan.
2 tablespoons mixed peel
20g almond nibs
Zest of one orange
Icing sugar, for dusting


Place the flour into a large bowl and rub in the butter using your fingertips, until the mixture resembles fine bread crumbs.
Rub the yeast into the bread crumb mixture.
Add the salt, mixed spice and milk and combine until the mixture forms a dough (adding more milk if it feels a little dry).
Place the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for around 10 minutes, or until it feels soft but not sticky.
Place the dough back into the bowl, cover with a tea towel and leave to rise for about an hour and a half, or until it has doubled in size.
When the dough has doubled in size, tip it out onto a lightly floured surface.
Roll the dough out into a large rectangle (about 20cm x 30cm).
Roll out the marzipan so it’s the same size and shape as the dough.
Place the marzipan on top of the dough and then spread over the mincemeat, mixed peel, almond nibs and orange zest.
Roll the dough up into a large sausage and then cut it into 15 equal pieces.
Line a rectangle baking tray with some grease proof paper, and then place the dough pieces on it, leaving 2 cm (ish) gap between each one.
Cover the buns with a tea towel and leave to rise for about an hour, or until they have noticeably puffed up and are pretty much touching.
Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees c.
When the buns have risen, bake them for around 20 minutes, or until they have turned a deep golden brown.
Leave the buns to cool in the tray for around 10 minutes before liberally dusting with icing sugar and serving.


Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Orange, Cranberry and White Chocolate Cake Bites



Christmas is nearly here! And what better way is there to celebrate than by lots of cake eating cake! I call these treats 'bites', although, really, they are a little bigger than that (what can I say, I'm greedy), so if you would like a daintier cake, feel free to cut slightly smaller rectangles.




Makes 16 bites.


For the bites:
120g self raising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
120g sugar
2 large eggs
120g unsalted butter, softened
Zest of one orange
100g white chocolate chips
75g died cranberries (I used Sainsbury's orange cranberries)

For the filling/topping:
4 tablespoons marmalade
50g white chocolate
32 dried cranberries

Pre-heat the oven to 170 degrees c.
Line a rectangle baking tray (around 20cm x 30 cm) with some grease-proof/baking paper.
Beat the butter, sugar, flour, baking powder and eggs in a free standing mixer (or using a hand-held electric whisk), using the paddle attachment, until well combined.
Fold the chocolate chips, orange zest and dried cranberries into the batter and then pour it into the prepared tray.
Smooth the batter out until it evenly fills the tin and then bake it for around 15 minutes or until the crust is a light golden brown and a knife comes out clean when inserted into the centre.
Leave the sponge to cool slightly in the tin before removing and placing on a wire rack to cool completely.
When the sponge is cool, cut it into 32 small rectangles (they don't have to me mega even, mine weren't).
Spread marmalade on top of 16 of the sponges and the top with the other 16, so you get little sandwiches.
Melt the white chocolate and then drizzle it over the top of the sandwiches.
Add 2 dried cranberries to each of the cake bites and then leave the chocolate to set for 30 minutes, before serving.
These cakes will keep for a couple of days, stored in an air-tight container at room temperate.

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Marmite and Cheese Focaccia


After the success of my last marmite themed bake I thought I would try something else, this time including it in a delicious Mediterranean classic and adding a little extra cheese (because cheese  makes everything better). I may have offended some Italians by calling this a 'focaccia' but it its baked in the same way and drenched with olive oil, all that's missing is an adornment of sea salt (I figured the marmite was salty enough). Enjoy this bread whilst its still slightly warm, dunked into some piping hot soup.




For the loaf:
450g strong white flour
7g dried yeast
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons marmite
300ml water
30g parmesan, grated

For the topping:
100g cheddar cheese, grated
2 tablespoons olive oil


Place the flour into a large bowl and rub in the yeast.
Add the marmite, salt, oil, parmesan and water and mix to form a dough (adding more water if it feels a little dry).
Place the dough onto a floured surface and knead for around 10 minutes, or until it feels smooth and elastic.
Return the dough to the bowl, cover with a tea-towel and leave to rise for about an hour, or until it has doubled in size.
Grease a rectangle baking tray and pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees C.
When the dough has risen, place it in the baking tray, stretching it out so that it pretty much fills the entire tin.
Cover with a tea-towel and leave to rise again, for around 20 minutes, or until the dough has noticeably puffed up.
When the focaccia has risen, make lots of dents in the surface with your knuckles, then sprinkle over the cheese and olive oil.
Bake for around 20 minutes, or until the cheese is burnished and the crust is a deep golden colour.
Cool the focaccia in the tin, for around 10 minutes, before removing and serving.

Friday, 2 December 2016

Sweet Potato Focaccia


I got the inspiration for this bake from my friend Jonny, who once made me some flatbread that was stuffed with either sweet potato or butternut squash (I can't remember which one), and it tasted AMAZING. Ever since I tried his creation I have been thinking of ways that I could combine the delicious, earthy flavour into my own breads. I have always been a fan of potato topped focaccia (Jamie Oliver does a good one) and I thought a little twist on the classic Italian flatbread would be the perfect carrier for my spiced sweet potato mixture.




Makes 2 small focaccia

For the focaccia:
500g strong white flour
7g dried yeast
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus a little more for greasing
400ml water

For the topping:
1/2 sweet potato, cut into small chunks
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
3 teaspoons coarse sea salt
3 tablespoons olive oil


Place the flour into a large bowl and rub in the yeast with your fingertips.
Add the salt oil and water and combine until the mixture forms a dough (adding more water if it feels a little dry).
Place the dough onto a lightly oiled surface and knead for around 5 minutes, or until it feels more smooth and elastic.
Return the dough to the bowl, cover with a tea towel and leave to rise for around an hour, or until it has doubled in size.
Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees c.
Place the chopped sweet potato onto a baking tray.
Sprinkle over the paprika, chilli flakes, 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and 1 tablespoon of the sea salt and mix together so that the sweet potato is evenly coated.
Bake the seasoned potatoes in the oven for around 20 minutes, or until they are soft.
When the sweet potatoes are ready, remove them from the oven and place to one side to cool.
Grease two 20cm round cake tins with olive oil.
When the dough has risen, divide it into two and place it into the lined cake tins.
Press the cooled sweet potato into the doughs and then cover each one with a tea towel.
Leave the doughs to rise for around 30 minutes, or until they have noticeably puffed up.
Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees c.
When the loaves have risen, sprinkle over the remaining olive oil and sea salt and bake for 20 minutes, or until they have turned a deep golden brown.
Leave the focaccia to cool slightly on a wire rack before removing from the tins and serving.
The focaccia can be frozen, if you are not planning to eat them straight away (this is why I made two, so I could eat one now and freeze the other for later), simply cool completely and then wrap well in clingfilm before freezing. When you are ready to eat the focaccia simply bake them straight from frozen, at 180 degrees for 10 minutes.

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Fruit and Mixed Seed Rye Loaf

This dark, dense loaf is packed full of tasty nuts and seeds and would make a great addition to any Christmas cheese board. It also tastes amazing toasted, simply slather with butter for a deliciously warming winter snack.



Makes 1 medium loaf.

For the loaf:
200g strong white flour
400g rye flour
14g dried yeast
2 tablespoons rapeseed oil, plus a little more for greasing
10g salt
100g sultanas
200g mixed nuts/seeds
400ml water

Place the flours into a large bowl and rub in the yeast with your fingertips.
Add the oil, salt, sultanas, nuts and seeds and mix until everything is well combined.
Add the water and bring together until the mixture forms a dough, you may need to add a little more water if it feels dry.
Tip the dough out onto a lightly oiled surface and knead for around 5 minutes, or until it feels a little smoother.
Return the dough to the bowl and cover with a tea towel.
Leave the dough to rise for a couple of hours, or until it has doubled in size.
Line a 1lb loaf tin with baking paper or a loaf tin liner.
When the dough has risen, place it onto a lightly oiled surface and shape into a rectangle, just slightly smaller than the loaf tin and then place it inside the lined tin.
Cover the dough with a tea towel and leave to rise for an hour, or until it has noticeably puffed up.
Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees c.
When the loaf has risen, bake it for 40 minutes, or until the top has turned a deep golden brown and the base sounds hollow when tapped.
Remove the loaf from the tin and allow to cool completely on a wire rack before slicing and serving.
This loaf will keep for up to a week, wrapped well in baking paper and stored in a cool, dark place.


Sunday, 27 November 2016

Chocolate and Coconut Rolls

These sweet, coconut-y rolls are essentially a Bounty chocolate bar served up in bread form. Enjoy as part of a treat filled weekend breakfast or simply as a naughty afternoon pick me up.




Makes 15 large rolls.

For the rolls:
450g strong white flour
7g dried yeast
60g unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 pint of semi-skimmed milk

For the filling:
1 397g tin of condensed milk
50g icing sugar
300g desiccated coconut
5 tablespoons chocolate spread

For the topping:
1 tablespoon chocolate spread

Place the flour into a large bowl and rub in the butter using your fingertips, until the mixture resembles fine bread crumbs.
Rub the yeast into the bread crumb mixture.
Add the salt and milk and combine until the mixture forms a dough (adding more milk if it feels a little dry).
Place the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for around 10 minutes, or until it feels soft but not sticky.
Place the dough back into the bowl, cover with a tea towel and leave to rise for about an hour and a half, or until it has doubled in size.
Make the filling by mixing together the condensed milk, icing sugar and desiccated coconut.
When the dough has doubled in size, tip it out onto a lightly floured surface.
Roll the dough out into a large rectangle (around 20cm x 30cm) and then spread over the chocolate spread and then the coconut mixture.
Roll the dough up into a large sausage and then cut it into 15 equal pieces.
Line a rectangle baking tray with some grease proof paper, and then place the dough pieces on it, leaving 2 cm (ish) gap between each one.
Cover the buns with a tea-towel and leave to rise for about an hour, or until they have noticeably puffed up.
Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees c.
When the buns have risen, bake them for around 20 minutes, or until they have turned a deep golden brown.
Leave the buns to cool completely in the tin before drizzling with the remaining chocolate spread and serving.

Saturday, 19 November 2016

Grandad's Rye Bread


I have always been a little disappointed with my rye breads. My past attempts have always tasted  pretty good, but the texture was often very stodgy, making the loaf rather unpleasant to eat. As I have probably mentioned before, my Grandad was a baker, so I thought I would ask if he had any advice on working with this ancient grain. He suggested that I use more yeast, as rye doesn't have all the gluten that other flours do, to make it rise better. He also said that rye doesn't absorb water well, so use much less than you normally would when making bread. I took on board his advice and I am really happy with the results that they produced. I have gone for a rye and white flour mix here, so that I got a slightly lighter crumb structure, but if you fancy a denser loaf please feel free to adjust the ratio.





Makes one medium loaf.

For the loaf:
300g rye flour
300g strong white flour
14g dried yeast
1 teaspoon salt
475ml water
2 tablespoons rapeseed oil, plus a little more for greasing

Place the flours into a large bowl and rub in the yeast with your fingertips.
Add the salt, oil and water and combine until the mixture forms a dough (adding more water if it feels a little dry).
Tip the dough onto a lightly oiled surface and knead for around 5 minutes, or until it feels a little smoother.
Return the dough to the bowl, cover with a tea towel and leave to rise for around an hour, or until it has doubled in size.
When the dough has risen, shape it into a ball and place it onto a lined baking tray.
Cover the loaf with a tea towel and leave to rise for around an hour, or until it has pretty much doubled in size.
Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees c.
When the loaf has risen, sprinkle it with a little rye flour and make a few slashes in the top with a sharp knife.
Bake the bread for around 25 minutes, or until the crust is a deep golden brown and the bottom makes a hollow sound when tapped.
Leave the loaf to cool completely on a wire rack before digging in.

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Peanut Butter Pretzel Bites

I am not going to claim that I invented the peanut butter/chocolate/pretzel mash-up, this recipe just happens to be my take on the trend. Salty and sweet, these bites are deliciously naughty and moorish. Serve as a late afternoon snack for a mouthwatering pick-me-up.




Makes around 20 small squares.


For the bites:
100g digestive biscuits
50g salted pretzels, plus a few more for decoration
150g melted butter
4 tablespoons crunchy peanut butter
1 397g tin of condensed milk
150g dark chocolate
50g white chocolate


Line a 20 x 30cm rectangle baking tin with cling-film.
Place the biscuits, pretzels (bar the ones saved for decoration) and melted butter into a food processor and blitz until the mixture resembles coarse, wet sand.
Press the sandy mixture into the prepared tin, smoothing in down until it evenly fills the entire tray.
Place in the fridge for 30 minutes to set slightly.
When the base is set, mix together the condensed milk and peanut butter, in a bowl, until they are well combined.
Pour the peanut butter mixture over the base, smoothing it down as you go, so that it evenly covers the biscuit mixture.
Place the tin in the fridge for around 30 minutes, or until the peanut butter mixture has set slightly.
When the sweet, nutty layer is a little firmer, melt the dark chocolate and pour it on top.
Melt the white chocolate and blob it on top of the dark chocolate at random intervals.
Take a cocktail stick and swirl the two chocolates together, so that you get sort of a ripple effect.
Place the extra pretzels on top of the chocolate.
Place the tin in the fridge to set, for around 2 hours, before slicing and serving.
These squares will keep for up to a week in the fridge, just make sure you store them in an air-tight container (chocolate tends to take on the flavour of things around it if it's not wrapped up well).

Monday, 7 November 2016

Spiced Toffee Apple Cake


This treat came about because I wanted to create a spiced winter dessert that combined my love of gooey, rich, sticky toffee pudding and gloriously sharp cooking apples. For best results serve this bake warm from the oven, with a generous dollop of ice cream on the side. This cake will keep for a couple of days in the fridge, wrapped up well in tinfoil.




Makes 1 cake, serves 8.


For the cake:
200g stoned dates
boiling water
300g cooking apples, peeled and cored
220g self raising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
220g caster sugar
220g unsalted butter, softened
4 medium free range eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons mixed spice

Place the dates into a bowl and pour enough boiling water over to just cover them.
Leave the dates to soak for around 20 minutes, or until they have noticeably plumped up.
When the dates have soaked, place them, and their water, into a food processor and blitz until the mixture is smooth.
Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees c (160 for a fan oven).
Line a rectangle high sided baking tin (around 20cm x 30cm) with baking paper.
Slice the apples into small-ish chunks.
Place the flour, baking powder, spice, vanilla, eggs, butter and sugar into the bowl of a standalone mixer and beat, using the paddle attachment, until the mixture is smooth and well combined (you could use a hand-held electric whisk too).
Fold the chopped apples and the date mixture into the batter and then pour into the prepared tin.
Bake the cake for around 30 minutes, or until the top is a deep golden brown and a knife comes out clean when inserted into the centre.
Leave the cake to cool a little in the tin before slicing and serving.



Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Pizza Rolls

After the success of my 'Pizza Focaccia', I wanted to carry the moreish flavour into another savoury bake. These rolls make a delicious accompaniment to a soup or a saucy stew, just make sure you serve them warm, whilst the cheese is still stringy and oozing.





Makes 12 rolls.

For the rolls:
300g strong white flour
7g dried yeast
1 teaspoon salt
200ml water
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus a little more for greasing

For the filling:
2 tablespoons sun-dried tomato puree
12 small mozzarella balls, or pearls (around 100g, you could use a larger piece and slice it up)
2 tablespoons dried basil

Place the flour into a large bowl and rub in the yeast.
Add the salt, oil and water and mix until it forms a dough (adding more water, if it feels a little dry).
Tip the dough onto a lightly oiled surface and knead for around 10 minutes, or until it feels smooth and elastic.
Return the dough to the bowl, cover with a tea towel and leave to rise for about an hour, or until it has doubled in size.
When the dough has risen, place it onto a lightly oiled surface and roll into a rectangle (around 20cm x 30cm).
Spread the sun-dried tomato puree evenly over the dough and then sprinkle over the dried basil.
Roll the dough up into a large sausage shape and then cut the sausage into 12 equal pieces.
Grease a 12 hole muffin tin with olive oil and then place the dough pieces into each of the holes.
Push a mozzarella ball into the centre of each of the rolls and then cover the entire tray with a tea towel.
Leave the rolls to rise for around half an hour, or until they have noticeably puffed up.
Pre-heat the oven to 190 degrees c.
When the rolls have risen, bake them for around 15 minutes, or until they are a light golden brown and the cheese is molten.
Leave the rolls to cool for 5 minutes in the tin, before carefully removing and serving.

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Thursday, 27 October 2016

Pesto and Cheese Pull Apart Loaf





Makes 1 medium loaf, serves 4.

For the loaf:
1 medium white loaf, unsliced
100g mozzarella, torn into chunks
100g mature cheddar, cut into chunks
4 tablespoons pesto
4 tablespoons olive oil


Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees c.
Cut a criss-cross pattern into the loaf with a sharp knife, making sure you don't quite slice all the way through.
Place a piece of cheese into each opening on top of the loaf, trying to alternate evenly between each cheese.
Stir the pesto and the olive oil together and then drizzle on top of the cheesy mound.
Place the bread onto a lined baking tray and cook for around 15 minutes, or until the cheese has gone a deep golden brown.
Leave to cool on the baking tray for a couple of minutes before serving.


Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Porridge Loaf


I have seen 'porridge bread' popping up everywhere in the last few weeks. From artisan bakeries to food bloggers, everyone seems to be putting this breakfast staple into their loaves, and as I love combining oats into my bakes, I thought I would jump on the bandwagon and give it a go. During my first attempt at coming up with a recipe for this new trend, I added wayyy too much porridge, making the dough very hard to handle, and the texture of the finished loaf very dense. This version uses a little less porridge than my previous endeavours, but still manages to keep that creamy oaty texture. I have made two medium loaves here, but you could combine them and just make one very large bake, if you wanted.




Makes 2 medium loaves.

For the porridge:
150g porridge oats
300ml water

For the loaf:
500g strong white flour
7g dried yeast
250ml water
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons rapeseed oil




Make the porridge by heating the oats and water in a pan on a medium heat, stirring until all the water has absorbed and the oats have gone all creamy.
Take the porridge off the heat and leave to cool completely.
Once the porridge has cooled, make the loaf by placing the flour into a large bowl and then rub in the yeast.
Add the porridge, salt, oil and water and mix until it forms a dough (adding more water if it feels a little dry).
Tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for around 10 minutes, or until the dough feels smooth and more elastic.
Return the dough to the bowl and cover with a tea towel.
Leave the dough to rise for about an hour, or until it has doubled in size.
When the dough has risen, divide it into two equal pieces and roll each piece into a ball.
Place the balls onto a lined baking tray (leaving plenty or room between each one) and cover with a tea towel.
Leave the loaves to rise for about an hour, or until they have noticeable puffed up.
Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees c.
When the loaves have risen, dust them with a little flour and make some slashes in the top with a sharp knife.
Bake the loaves for around 25 minutes, or until their crusts are a deep golden brown and the bottom of each one sounds hollow when tapped.
Cool completely on a wire rack before slicing and serving.

Sunday, 23 October 2016

'Trick or Treat' Rocky Road


These rocky road squares are a great way of using up any left-over goodies that your trick or treater's haven't taken. So quick and easy, these chocolatey delights take a matter of minutes to put together and are great to make with children (as there is no actual baking involved). I have used a selection of my favourite confectionary in this recipe, but feel free to use whatever left over loot you have lying around (sweets, chocolate and biscuits will all work well here), just make sure that you have enough melted chocolate to cover everything evenly.





Makes around 12 squares.

For the rocky road:
200g milk chocolate
100g dark chocolate
150g mini marshmallows
100g biscuits of your choice, broken into small pieces (I used McVitie's digestive nibbles)
A selection of treats (I used a variety of chocolate, see photo for details)






Place the treats, marshmallow and broken biscuits into a large bowl.
Melt the chocolate.
Pour the melted chocolate into the treats and stir until everything is well combined.
Place the chocolate/treat mixture into a medium rectangle baking tin, that has been lined with clingfilm.
Smooth the mixture into the sides of the tin and then place in the fridge, for at least two hours, until it has set.
When the rocky road has set, dust it with a little icing sugar and then cut into large squares.
This sweet treat will keep well in an air-tight container, for about a week ( that's if it lasts that long!).

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Snickers Cookies


These cookies combine two of my most favourite things, chocolate and peanut butter. The recipe makes a fair amount of dough, so you could keep some of it (well wrapped in clingfilm) in the fridge for a few days, if you only wanted to bake a couple of cookies off at a time. The baked treats keep well for a week (if they last that long), stored in an airtight container at room temperature.




Makes 12 large cookies.

For the cookies.

4 x regular sized Snickers bars (cut into small chunks)
100g milk chocolate chunks
1 large egg
140g unsalted butter
200g crunchy peanut butter
250g caster sugar
225g self raising flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract



Beat the butter and sugar together in a free-standing mixer, using the paddle attachment (or using a hand-held electric whisk), until pale and fluffy.
Add the egg, vanilla and peanut butter, and mix again, until everything is combined.
Add the flour and mix on a very low speed until combined.
Finally add the chocolate and chunks of Snickers, mixing again, until it's evenly distributed.
Lay a large sheet of cling-film onto your work surface, and spoon the cookie mixture into the middle.
Wrap the dough up in the clingfilm, like a sausage, making sure it's well sealed.
Place the sausage into the freezer, for at least 30 minutes, or until the dough has firmed up.
Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees c.
When the cookie dough has firmed up, unwrap from the cling-film and slice into discs (about an inch thick).
Place the discs onto lined baking trays (leaving plenty of room between each one) and bake for around 15 minutes, or until the cookies have started to harden round the edges, but are still soft in the middle.
Cool the cookies on the tray slightly, before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Monday, 17 October 2016

An Evening With Jenny Chandler and Chilli and Oregano Pitta Breads



Last week I was lucky enough to spend an evening with Jenny Chandler, the food writer, teacher and UN FAO special ambassador for pluses. She was showing us how to cook some easy and delicious dishes using beans and lentils, which are among some of the most sustainable crops you can find and have been feeding people world-wide for centuries. I have been a fan of pluses for a while now, as someone who does not eat meat, and they more accessible than ever these days, often coming pre-cooked and soaked so all you have to do is open the packet and enjoy.

I almost assumed before the event that Jenny was a vegetarian, because, why else would you be pushing lentils when the rest of the cooking world is meat mad? It turns out Jenny is not a herbivore, but someone who just loves the taste of these ancient food sources and is really passionate about promoting their nutritional value through delicious recipes. It was a really refreshing evening, with the focus on tasty food that you could enjoy every day.

What we ate - Jenny cooked us falafels (the best I have ever eaten, she cooks her's with fava beans instead of chickpeas) and quesadillas with re-fried beans and Mrs Kirkham's Lancashire cheese. The falafels were so quick and easy, simply put all the ingredients into a processor and blitz, and nothing like the dry/flavourless ones I have had in the past from supermarkets. The quesadillas were spicy and moorish, a quick and easy dinner that I have already made twice since attending the class!

If you want to find out more about Jenny and her recipes, head down to Borough Market every Thursday in November, where she will be cooking delicious pulse dishes from around the world.


















Jenny will be cooking at the demo kitchen in Borough Market every Thursday in November, 12.30pm - 2pm.



Something to serve your falafels with - Chill and Oregano Pitta Bread.



Makes 6 large pittas.

For the pitta breads:
250g strong white flour
7g dried yeast
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried chilli flakes
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for greasing
175ml water



Place the flour into a large bowl and rub in the yeast.
Add the salt, water, oregano, oil and chilli and mix until it forms a dough (adding more water if it feels a little dry).
Place the dough onto a lightly oiled surface and knead for around 10 minutes, or until it feels smooth and elastic.
Return the dough to the bowl, cover with a tea towel, and leave to rise for about an hour, or until it has doubled in size.
Pre-heat the oven to 220 degrees c.
When the dough has risen, place it onto a lightly oiled surface and divide it into 6 equal balls.
Roll out each of the balls into a long oval shape, about the length between your wrist to your elbow.
Place the pittas on to 2/3 lined baking trays, leaving a small gap between each one.
Bake the pittas for around 5 minutes, or until the middle has puffed up and they are a pale golden colour.
Leave the pittas to cool for a minute on a wire rack before serving.


Friday, 14 October 2016

Spiced Marmalade Buns

I got the inspiration for this bake whilst having breakfast at a quiet bakery in Covent Garden. They were serving these orange chelsea buns, which were deliciously sticky and sweet, and once I tasted one, I knew I was going to have to try and make my own version at home.
I have added mixed spice to my buns, because I like the warmth that it brings on a cold autumn day. Enjoy these treats with a large cup of tea, as a late afternoon pick-me-up.



Makes 10 large buns.

For the buns:
450g strong white flour
60g butter
7g dried yeast
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon mixed spice
1/2 pint of milk

For the filling:
250ml milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
2 egg yolks
50g sugar
45g flour
Zest of an orange
4 tablespoons marmalade

For the sticky marmalade glaze:
2 tablespoons marmalade
2 tablespoons boiling water



Place the flour into a large bowl and rub in the butter using your fingertips, until the mixture resembles fine bread crumbs.
Rub the yeast into the bread crumb mixture.
Add the salt, mixed spice and milk and combine until the mixture forms a dough (adding more milk if it feels a little dry).
Place the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for around 10 minutes, or until it feels soft but not sticky.
Place the dough back into the bowl, cover with a tea towel and leave to rise for about an hour and a half, or until it has doubled in size.
Whilst the dough is rising, make a creme patisserie for the filling.
Place the yolks and sugar into a large bowl and whisk together until pale.
Add the flour and orange zest into the egg mixture, stirring until there are no lumps.
Heat the milk and vanilla, in a pan over a medium heat, until it just starts to boil.
Take the pan off the heat and pour half of the milk into the egg mixture, stirring well until it is fully combined.
Stir the rest of the milk into the egg mixture and then place it all back in the pan.
Put the pan back on the heat, and stir until the mixture goes thick and gloopy (you may have to whisk it a little if lumps start forming).
When the mixture has thickened, place it into a large bowl and cover with clingfilm (making sure that the cling film directly touches the creme patisserie, to avoid a skin forming), then leave to cool completely.
When the dough has doubled in size, tip it out onto a lightly floured surface.
Roll the dough out into a large rectangle, and then spread the cooled creme patisserie and marmalade across it.
Roll the dough up into a large sausage and then cut it into 10 equal pieces.
Line a rectangle baking tray with some grease proof paper, and then place the dough pieces on it, leaving 2 cm (ish) gap between each one.
Cover the buns with a tea-towel and leave to rise for about an hour, or until they have noticeably puffed up.
Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees c.
Make the glaze by mixing together the marmalade and the boiling water.
When the buns have risen, bake them for around 20 minutes, or until they have turned a deep golden brown.
When the buns are ready, brush over the marmalade glaze and leave them to cool in the baking tray, before serving.

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Saturday, 8 October 2016

Lady Grey Teacakes

Autumn is here!!! which for me means cozy nights in, knitted socks and warm, spice scented comfort food. These teacakes take their inspiration from my Lady Grey Tea Bread, which I wanted to make, but in a different form, and nothing is better on a crisp autumn morning than a hot buttered teacake.
I have made my teacakes quite big, partly because I am greedy and partly to remind me of the ginormous ones I used to get at school, so feel free to make 8 slightly smaller ones, instead of 6, if you wish.




Makes 6 very large teacakes.


For the teacakes:
450g strong white flour
7g dried yeast
60g butter, plus a little extra for brushing on the teacakes
150g currants
1/2 pint of milk
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons mixed spice
6 Lady Grey tea bags





Heat up the milk in a small sauce pan on a medium heat, until it just starts to bubble.
Remove the milk from the heat and add in the 6 tea bags.
Give the milk and tea bags a good stir, and then leave to infuse for about an hour, or until the milk has completely cooled.
When the milk is cool, place the flour into a large bowl and rub in the butter, until the mixture resembles fine bread crumbs.
Rub the yeast into the bread crumb mixture and then mix in the salt, mixed spice and currants.
Remove the tea bags from the milk and then add the milk to the rest of the ingredients, mixing until it forms a dough (adding a little water if it feels a bit dry).
Place the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for around 10 minutes, or until it feels soft but not sticky.
Return the dough to the bowl, cover with a tea towel, and leave to rise for about an hour and a half, to until it has doubled in size.
When the dough has risen, divide it into 6 equal (ish) pieces and the roll each piece into a ball.
Place the balls onto a lined baking tray, cover with a tea towel and leave to rise for around 30 minutes, or until they have noticeably puffed up.
Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees c.
When the teacakes have puffed up, place them into the oven for around 15 minutes, or until they have turned a deep golden brown.
When the teacakes are done, place the baking tray onto a wire rack and then brush the teacakes with a little butter.
Cover the buttered teacakes with a tea towel and leave them to cool (this will help keep them to stay nice and soft).
These teacakes will keep well for a couple of days, wrapped and placed in a cool dark place (not the fridge!).
The teacakes taste best toasted and then spread with a generous lick of butter (or peanut butter, which I insist on putting on everything).

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Friday, 7 October 2016

Liverpool Food and Drink Festival

A couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to go to the Liverpool Food and Drink Festival, which was held in Sefton park on the 17th and 18th September. I have been to a fair few food shows before, and have always been left a little disappointed with the choice of food and drink on offer. The shows always seem to be filled with stalls selling tacky gadgets and accessories that you would probably use once and then would be banished to the back of the cupboard with the apple corer and the magnetic toaster tongs. These type of events never quite match my appetite for exciting new cuisines to try, instead just offering over-priced burgers and soggy sandwiches that you could get down at your local supermarket .

This festival, however, couldn't haven been more different. There were so many interesting and unique food and drink options to choose from. From street food, to delicious bread and pastries, speciality gins and vodkas to BBQs and chocolate, every taste and curiosity was catered for.
What also made the festival stand out for me was that they were offering cooking classes for children. These classes were free to attend, and every child got to take home what they made. I thought this was an excellent way of teaching children valuable skills such as healthy eating, correct food preparation and general hygiene. A far cry from the cup cake decorating classes you usually get at these sort of events.

The weather really held out too, it was gloriously sunny and warm, which made the party atmosphere even more incredible.
Its safe to say I would definitely go again, in fact I am looking up tickets for the April festival now...

My highlights of the day were:
Food and fizz at Neon Jamon, which is already a firm favourite of mine.
The Pimms tent (always).
The GIANT caramel slice from Bold Street Coffee.
The gorgeous tea pots on display at Alison Appleton (she has a tea house on the edge of the park too, which I am desperate to visit).
The onion bread and pastries from The French Corner.
The free seeds Seeds Of Change were giving out, a great incentive to grown your own ingredients.



Fizz from Neon Jamon



Spanish Omelette, croquettes and olives from Neon Jamon



World's biggest caramel slice from Bold Street Coffee.



Best Bakewell tart ever



Free seeds from Seeds of Change



Monday, 26 September 2016

Spelt Frying-Pan Pizzas


I've seen a lot 'frying pan' pizza recipes knocking around online lately, and I thought it was probably about time I tried to make my own. I am always in search of the best way to get the most authentic pizza experience at home (thin burnished crust, simple yet tasty toppings) and I feel like the high heat you get from the stove top/grill really helps to achieve that. I have used spelt flour here, for something a little different (I like the slight nuttiness that it gives), but a strong white flour would work just as well too.



Makes 4 medium pizzas.




For the pizzas:
400g white spelt flour
7g dried yeast
1 teaspoon salt
300ml water
2 tablespoons olive oil (plus more for greasing)
semolina, for dusting

4 the toppings:
150g tomato passata
200g cheese (I used cheddar because that was all I had in), grated/broken into small pieces
4 teaspoons dried basil/handfull of fresh basil
red onion/anchovies/chilli/whatever else you fancy





Place the flour into a large bowl and rub in the yeast.
Add the salt, oil and most of the water and mix to form a dough (adding more water if it feels a little dry).
Tip the dough onto a lightly oiled surface and knead for around 5 minutes, or until it feels smooth and elastic.
When the dough is smooth, return to the bowl and cover with a tea towel.
Leave the dough to rise, for around an hour, or until it has doubled in size.
Meanwhile, prepare an oven-proof frying pan by greasing it with olive oil and sprinkling it with semolina.
When the dough has risen, divide it into 4 equal pieces.
Place one of the pieces into the prepared frying pan, stretching it out so it covers the base and the sides.
Spread a couple of tablespoons of the passata over the dough in the frying pan, and then sprinkle over 1/4 of the cheese and 1/4 of the basil.
Pre-heat the grill, to a high heat.
Place the frying pan pizza on the hob on a medium-high heat.
Cook the pizza for around 5 minutes, or until the topping starts to bubble and the base feels firm.
Take off the heat and then place the frying pan under the grill, for around 5 minutes, or until the pizza crust is a deep golden brown.
When the pizza is cooked, remove it from the pan.
Repeat the process until you have used up all of the dough (any finished pizzas can be placed in a medium oven to keep warm until the rest are done).
Served warm with a cold beer.

Friday, 16 September 2016

One Cup Spelt Pancakes


I am absolutely RUBBISH at making pancakes. Doesn't matter if I'm making big fluffy American style ones, or thin crepes for shrove Tuesday, they always seem to turn out wonky, a little burnished and never looking like the 'perfect' ones I see all over Instagram. That's why I love these really simple one cup pancakes, because they are so quick and really hard to mess up.  I have used spelt flour in my recipe, for an added nutty flavour. These pancakes are a great carrier for both sweet and savoury flavours, I served mine with a sprinkling of granola and a greedy splodge of peanut butter. I just used a regular American cup measure to make my batter, but a builder's mug would work fine too (you just need the flour and the milk to be the same measure).






Makes 6-8 medium-large pancakes.

For the pancakes:
1 cup white spelt flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
1 cup milk
l medium egg
rapeseed oil for frying




Place all the ingredients (except for the oil) into a large jug and whisk together until you get a smooth batter.
Add a small amount of oil to a large frying pan and place on to a medium-high heat.
Once the oil has heated up, add a ladle full of the batter (I made my pancakes quite large so just did one at a time) and fry the pancake for 2 minutes on each side.
Repeat until you have used all of your mixture.
These pancakes taste best served warm, straight from the pan.
Any unused batter will keep well in the fridge, for a day or so (just make sure to give it a good whisk before using). 

Saturday, 10 September 2016

Honey and Spelt Teacakes


My first memory of the beloved teacake is greedily chomping on one during a break time at school (you used to be able to buy them at a little tuck-shop they ran in the P.E corridor). They were absolutely huge things (or at least they felt like that to tiny hands), often tasted a little stale and were always dripping with butter.  I created this recipe in honour of those school day treats, however these ones are slightly more refined and not in the least bit stale-tasting.  I have used spelt flour and honey  in this bake, for added flavour and sweetness. You could add 200g of currants if you wanted, after the first rise, for something a little fruiter.




Makes 8 large teacakes.

For the teacakes:
450g white spelt flour
7g dried yeast
60g butter, plus a little more for melting.
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons runny honey
200ml semi-skimmed milk (fridge cold is fine)


Place the flour into a large bowl and rub in the butter with your fingertips, until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
Rub the yeast into the flour and butter.
Add the salt, honey and milk and mix until it forms a dough (adding more milk if it feels a little dry).
Place the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for around 10 minutes, or until the dough feels soft but not sticky.
Return the dough to the bowl, cover with a tea towel and leave to rise for about an hour and a half, or until it has doubled in size.
When the dough has risen, divide it into 8 equal pieces and then roll each piece into a ball.
Place the balls onto a lined baking tray, leaving an inch gap between each one, and cover with a tea towel.
Leave the balls to rise for around 30 minutes, or until they have noticeably puffed up and are almost touching.
Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees c.
When the teacakes have risen, bake them for around 15 minutes, or until they have turned a light golden brown.
When the teacakes are out of the oven, leave them on the baking tray and brush them with a little melted/softened butter and cover them with a tea towel until they have cooled (this will help keep them soft).
These teacakes taste best on the day they are made, but will keep well for a couple of days in a re-sealable food bag.
Best served toasted with lots of butter.

Monday, 29 August 2016

Peanut Butter and Honey Flapjacks


Flapjacks are one of the things we first learn how to bake at home. Quick and easy, they don't require much equipment, time or technical know-how. These treats make for some delicious bank-holiday baking and are a great way of incorporating local produce and seasonal flavours.





Makes 10-12 flapjacks

For the flapjacks:
8oz porridge oats
4oz sugar
2oz runny honey
3oz dark chocolate chips
3 tablespoons crunchy peanut butter
6oz butter
3oz raisins


Pre-heat the oven to 160 degrees c.
Line a medium sized rectangle baking tray with greaseproof/baking paper.
Melt the butter, sugar, peanut butter and honey together in a large pan over a medium heat.
Once everything is melted, take the pan off the heat and stir in the chocolate, oats and raisins.
Spoon the mixture into the lined baking tray, flattening it so it evenly fills the tin.
Bake the flapjack mixture for around 20 minutes, or until it has started to harden in the corners, but is still soft in the centre.
Leave the flapjack to cool in the tin before slicing and serving.
Keeps well in an air-tight container for up to a week.


Friday, 26 August 2016

Cheesy Pull-Apart Loaf with Garlic and Chilli Oil



This bake is an easy way to turn a boring shop-bought loaf into something creative and exciting. I have used gruyere and mozzarella cheeses here, but you could always replace them with some camembert or a rich mature cheddar, if you fancied. Serve this loaf with something you can dunk it into like a rich beef stew, or a spicy tomato soup.




Makes 1 medium loaf, serves 4.


For the loaf:
1 400g un-sliced loaf
125g mozzarella, cut into small chunks
125g gruyere cheese, cut into small batons
1 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon sea salt

For the garlic and chilli oil:
30ml olive oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled and cut in half
1 teaspoon dried chilli


Make the chilli oil by placing the oil, garlic and chilli into a bowl and mixing together.
Cover the bowl with clingfilm and leave for at least an hour, at room temperature, to infuse.
Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees c.
When the oil is infused, place the loaf onto a lined baking tray and cut a criss-cross pattern into it with a sharp knife, making sure you don't quite cut all the way through.
Place a piece of cheese into each opening on the top of the loaf, trying to alternate evenly between each cheese.
When you have used up all your cheese, sprinkle over the basil, chilli oil (discarding the chunks of garlic) and sea salt.
Bake the loaf for around 15 minutes, or until the cheese is molten and the crust is a rich golden brown.
Leave the bread to cool slightly on the baking tray before tucking in.

Saturday, 20 August 2016

Double Chocolate and Marmalade Loaf Cake



Bake off starts next week, and watching it always makes me so inspired to try lots of new and exciting cake recipes. I have been using marmalade a lot in my bakes recently, partly because my mum has a huge collection of homemade jars in the cupboard under her stairs, and partly because I think the slight bitterness pairs particularly well with chocolate (and everyone knows I can't have a pudding without chocolate in it). This cake is very moist and dense, so it works really well slightly warmed as a dessert, just serve a nice hearty wedge with some ice cream or vanilla custard.






Makes 1 medium loaf cake. Serves about 6.

For the cake:
120g self raising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
120g caster sugar
120g butter, softened
2 large eggs
100g white chocolate chips
100g milk chocolate chunks
4 tablespoons marmalade

For the topping:
1 tablespoon marmalade
1 tablespoon boiling water
30g milk chocolate, melted
30g white chocolate, melted

Line a 1lb loaf tin with baking paper, or a loaf tin liner.
Pre-heat the oven to 160 degrees C.
Beat the butter, sugar, flour, baking powder and eggs in a free standing mixer (or using a hand-held electric whisk), using the paddle attachment, until well combined.
Fold the chocolate and marmalade into the batter and pour it into the prepared tin.
Bake the cake for around 40 minutes, or until the top is a deep golden brown and a knife comes out clean when inserted into the centre.
Make the marmalade glaze by mixing the marmalade and boiling water in a heat proof bowl.
As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, brush over the glaze, making sure to use it all.
Leave the cake to cool in the tin.
When the cake is cool, remove it from the tin and drizzle over the melted white and milk chocolate.
Leave the chocolate to set a little before serving, making sure you cut big greedy wedges.

Sunday, 14 August 2016

Triple Chocolate Rocky Road


This recipe is an improvement on my double chocolate rocky road (and there is no better improvement, in my opinion, that adding more chocolate). I have used peanut butter Oreos this time, to give a little extra flavour, but normal Oreos would work just fine too. These rocky road squares taste great alongside a mug of builders or a strong cup of coffee.

Makes around 20 squares (depending on how greedily you cut them).






For the rocky road:

200g milk chocolate
200g dark chocolate
200g white chocolate
300g mini marshmallows
1 1/2 packets (standard size) peanut butter Oreos, broken up a little
Icing sugar, for dusting

Line a medium sized rectangle baking tin with cling film.
Melt the dark chocolate and stir in 1/3 of the Oreos and 1/3 of the mini marshmallows.
Press the chocolate mixture into the lined tin, smoothing it out with the back of a spoon as you go.
Place the tin in the fridge for around 30 minutes, or until the chocolate has started to set.
When the dark chocolate is pretty much set, melt the milk chocolate and stir in half of the remaining Oreos and marshmallows.
Pour the milk chocolate mixture on top of the dark chocolate, spreading the mixture so it fills the tin.
Place the milk/dark chocolate rocky road in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, or until the milk chocolate is pretty much set.
When the milk chocolate has set, melt the white chocolate and stir in the remaining Oreos and marshmallows.
Spread the white chocolate mixture on top of the milk/dark chocolate and place back in the fridge, for at least 30 minutes to set.
Once the rocky road is set, dust the top with icing sugar and slice into squares.
The rocky road will keep well for a few days in an air-tight container.

Monday, 8 August 2016

Dough Sticks


I always look forward to ordering the fluffy, pillowy dough sticks that you get in many 'Italian' restaurants. I love how the soft, rich dough often burns the top of my mouth, as I greedily tuck in before they have had chance to cool. I have tried, and failed, many times to make lovely soft and airy rolls, but they always end up too hard, too crusty or completely raw in the middle.
  From experimenting with many different recipes, I have learned that the two things you need for a soft, light bread are fat and air, so I have tried to incorporate both into my dough.  I have proved these dough sticks in the same way I would do a ciabatta, in a greased rectangular tub, so that you only have to gently tip the dough out to shape, therefore keeping in as much air as possible. These dough sticks are incredibly moreish and certainly wont disappoint. They taste best still a little warm from the oven. Serve alongside a pizza for the ultimate carb fest.





Makes 6 fat dough sticks.

For the sticks:

250g strong white flour
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons olive oil (plus a little more for greasing)
7g dried yeast
175ml water

For the topping:
1 tomato, cut into small slices
10g parmesan, grated
50g cheddar, grated
1 teaspoon dried basil


Grease a medium sized, rectangle lunch-box with olive oil.
Place the flour into a large bowl, and rub in the yeast.
Add the salt, oil and water and mix to form a dough (adding more water if it feels a little dry).
Tip the dough onto a lightly oiled surface and knead for around 10 minutes, or until it feels smooth and elastic.
Place the dough into the greased lunch-box, put the lid on and leave to rise for about an hour, or until it has doubled in size.
When the dough has risen, gently tip it out onto an oiled surface.
Being as gentle as possible, (you want to keep as much air in as you can, as this will make the sticks light and fluffy) cut the dough into six rectangles.
Place the rectangles onto a lined baking tray and place a few slices of tomato on top of each one.
Sprinkle over the basil and cheeses and then cover the sticks with a tea towel.
Leave the dough sticks to rise again, for around 20 minutes, or until they have noticeably puffed up.
Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees c.
When the dough sticks have puffed up, bake them for around 15 minutes, or until they have turned a light golden brown.
Let the sticks cool slightly on the baking tray before serving.

Monday, 1 August 2016

Triple Chocolate, Peanut Butter and Spelt Cookies


The spelt flour and peanut butter in this recipe give the classic choc-chip cookie an extra nutty twist. I have gone for white, milk and dark chocolate here, using chips and chunks for added texture, but feel free to stick with one shade/type only, if you fancy.





Makes 10-15 cookies.

For the cookies:
140g unsalted butter, softened
250g caster sugar
225g white spelt flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
200g crunchy peanut butter
100g milk chocolate chunks
50 white chocolate chunks
50 dark chocolate chips

Beat the butter and sugar together in a free-standing mixer, using the paddle attachment (or using a hand-held electric whisk), until pale and fluffy.
Add the egg, vanilla and peanut butter, and mix again, until everything is combined.
Add the flour and baking powder and mix on a very low speed until combined.
Finally add the chocolate, mixing again, until it's evenly distributed.
Lay a large sheet of cling-film onto your work surface, and spoon the cookie mixture into the middle.
Wrap the dough up in the clingfilm, like a sausage, making sure it's well sealed.
Place the sausage into the freezer, for at least 30 minutes, or until the dough has firmed up.
Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees c.
When the cookie dough had firmed up, unwrap from the cling-film and slice into discs (about an inch thick).
Place the discs onto lined baking trays (leaving plenty of room between each one) and bake for around 15 minutes, or until the cookies have started to harden round the edges, but are still soft in the middle.
Cool the cookies on the tray slightly, before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Friday, 22 July 2016

Chocolate and Marmalade tart


This tart is one of those puddings that people would describe as a real 'adult' treat. The bitterness of the marmalade really compliments the sweet chocolate ganache and crumbly biscuit base. This tart tastes great on it's own, but you could serve it will a dollop of Creme fraiche, if you really wanted.





Makes 1 medium tart. Serves 8.

For the base:
400g milk chocolate digestives
100g unsalted butter melted (plus more for greasing)

For the filling:
300ml double cream
200g milk chocolate, broken into small chunks
100g dark chocolate, broken into small chunks
5 tablespoons marmalade (the good, chunky kind)

Grease a 20cm loose bottomed tart tin with butter.
Place the biscuits into a food processor and blitz until they resemble bread crumbs.
Add the melted butter to this biscuits, and blitz again, until the biscuit crumbs start to clump together.
Place the biscuit mixture into the greased tart tin.
Press down the mixture, with the back of a spoon, so that it evenly compacts in the tin and up the sides.
Place the base in the fridge to set, for at least an hour.
Once the base is set, spoon in 4 tablespoons of the marmalade, and evenly spread out.
Place the chocolate into a large, heat- proof bowl.
Place the cream into a pan and put on a medium heat.
Cook until the cream starts to bubble.
When the cream is bubbling, remove it from the heat and pour it gently and slowly over the chocolate.
Whisk the cream and chocolate mixture, until all the chocolate has melted, and the mixture comes together.
Pour the mixture on top of the tart base, spooning over the last tablespoon of marmalade when you are done.
Place the tart in the fridge to set, for at least 3 hours, before slicing and serving.
Keeps well in the fridge for 2-3 days.



Thursday, 14 July 2016

Spelt, Oat and Honey Loaf

The honey in this loaf adds a subtle sweetness, whilst the oats create a lovely crumbly texture. This bake makes amazing toast, just simply slather with salted butter.



Makes 1 medium loaf.


For the loaf:
400g white spelt flour (plus a little more for dusting)
100g rolled/porridge oats
7g dried yeast
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons honey
300ml water


Place the flour into a large bowl and rub in the yeast.
Add the salt, honey, oats and water and mix to form a dough (adding more water if it feels a little dry).
Place the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for around 10 minutes, or until the dough feels elastic.
Place the dough back into the bowl and cover with a tea-towel.
Leave the dough to rise, for at least an hour, or until it has doubled in size.
When the dough has risen, place it onto a lightly floured surface and shape into a ball.
Place the ball onto a lined baking tray, cover with a tea-towel and leave to rise for at least 30 minutes, or until it has noticeably puffed up.
Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees c.
When the dough has risen, make a 'x' shape in the top with a sharp knife and sprinkle over a little flour and/or oats.
Bake the loaf for around 25 minutes or until the surface is a deep golden brown and the bottom sounds hollow when tapped.
Cool a little on a wire rack before serving.