Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Mojito Cupcakes

After a bit of retail therapy with the bestest friend on Sunday, we decided to head back to mine to revaluate the week over a bottle of something cold in my fridge

We got talking about the herbs in the herb planter and what I use them for. I love fresh basil in my gnocchi, coriander in my curries, lemon thyme with roast chicken and rosemary on the bbq with beef! And mint in my mojitos…



125gr butter

115gr golden caster sugar

10gr brown sugar

2 eggs

125gr self-raising flour

1 shot of dark rum (25ml) (Coconut rum is brilliant in this recipe!)

Grated zest of one lime

3tbsp chopped fresh mint or 1 and 1/2 tsp of dried mint

Buttercream Icing

75gr butter

195gr icing sugar

1/2 shot of dark rum (12.5ml)

Juice of one lime

1, Preheat oven to 180o/c and line a 12 hole bun tin with cupcake cases

2, Cream the butter and both sugars together until fluffy. Mix in the zest, mint and the rum.

3, Beat in the eggs

4, Sift the flour and mix that in until you have a smooth cake batter

5, Divide equally between the 12 cupcakes cases

6, Bake for 12-15 minutes until lightly browned and an inserted skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool before icing.

7, To make the icing beat all the icing ingredients together until smooth and pipe or spread with a spatula over the cupcakes. Top with slices of fresh lime and mint.

Friday, 23 July 2010

White Currants

Just for the record, I don’t spend all my spare time pilfering fruit and veg from my parents house! I was returning some power tools as we have recently just laid some new flooring in our lounge and I managed to come back with a huge carrier bag full of garden produce!

The white currants especially took my eye. They are striking translucent little orbs with opaque white veins and turn a beautiful pinky-coral when cooking. There aren’t many recipes for white currants, plenty for their red counterparts and they could be used in the same way. Jelly seemed the best option for mine! This is no Bar-de-Luc jelly and I am no épépineuse (however maybe if I can lift some redcurrants from the parents then I might give their methods a try, maybe not with a goose quill though…) but this jelly is great for any type of currant!


500gr of white currants

400gr of caster sugar


1, De-sprig the white currants by firmly holding the stalk and running a fork down the sprig

2, Place the currants into a saucepan and heat to medium, squash the berries. Cook the berries for 6-10minutes or until they are soft. They will release a lot of juice.

3, Pour in the sugar and boil rapidly for 10 minutes

4, Take off the heat and let it cool slightly before sieving out the skins and seeds.

5, Pour into sterilised jars (this recipe fills about 2 x 190gr jars) and leave to cool before storing in the fridge.

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Energy Bars

I love running as much as I love baking. They go hand in hand for me, running keeps off the ‘cake weight’! I love the freedom that it gives me. I choose when I go, how long I go for, how far I go, what route I take and if I have a bad run then I can only blame myself!

And I admit they are not the healthiest thing to eat but little energy bars are great, not only pre and post fuelling runs but I stick them in my bag for elevensies at work too!


80gr low fat margarine

6tbsp maple syrup

120gr porridge oats

2 bananas mashed (ripe ones are best)

100gr sultanas

50gr of mixed chopped nuts

5tbsp peanut butter

1, Preheat the oven to 170o/c and line a 7inch square tin with parchment papers

2, Melt the margarine and maple syrup over a low heat.

3, Mix everything else really well and then press into the lined tin.

4, Bake for 15-25 minutes until golden

5, Cool, cut into squares and store in an airtight container

Banana Bread

We had some bananas in the fruit bowl that were looking a bit ‘questionable’ and, considering this website is bookmarked as a favourite on my laptop, I knew I had the perfect recipe for them! This makes a large ‘traybake’ sized cake and does freeze quite well


190gr of self raising flour

1tsp baking powder

1/2tsp salt

200gr of sugar (I use half brown sugar and half golden caster sugar)

55gr of melted butter

2 eggs

3 medium sized ripe bananas (mashed)

1, Preheat oven to 190o/c and line a 28cm by 20cm rectangular baking dish with baking parchment

2, Sift all the dry ingredients together in one bowl and mix the remaining wet ingredients in another bowl

3, Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients until you have a smooth batter with lumpy banana bits in it. At this stage its great if you want to chuck in any leftover nuts/chocolate chips etc!

4, Pour into the line tray and bake for 30-35minutes or until golden on top and an inserted skewer comes out clean.

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Tarte Aux Myrtilles

What a scorcher! It’s beautiful outside! It's definitely not suitable weather for fatty chocolate fudge cake of death (I don’t want to play with butter cream in this humidity) so how about a light French blueberry tart… Yum!

Patê Sucrée (Sugar Pastry)
100 gr plain flour
50gr butter
25 gr golden caster sugar
1 egg yolk
Pinch of salt
Blueberry Filling
½ tbsp cornflour
225gr blueberries
40gr golden caster sugar
1, Make the pasty but mixing the flour, sugar and salt together and then quickly rubbing in the butter with your fingertips.
2, Mash in the yolk using a fork to begin with and then knead in the bowl. You might need to add a little splash of water to make it form a dough.
3, Refrigerate for a minimum of 30 minutes
4, Roll out and place into a lined 7inch round loose based tart tin. It wont need to go too far up the sides of the tin, mine managed about 2 cm
5, Mix the blueberry filling ingredients in a dry bowl lightly using your hands. Try not to smush the berries
6, Add the coated blueberries into the pastry lined tart tin and sprinkle evenly with the rest of the sugar/cornflour mix
7, Bake in a preheated oven for 20 minutes, or until the pastry is brown and the blueberries are happily bubbling
8, Loosely cover with greaseproof paper and leave until cold before serving.

Saturday, 10 July 2010

Fondant Cakes: Gallery 1

I have made quite a few fondant covered cakes. I’m nothing of an expert and once I finish with one cake, I’m cursing the words that spewed from my mouth perhaps a couple of weeks earlier of “Sure! I’ll make you one for your (insert occasion here)"

So here are some of my cakes:-

One of our friends works in Lush so I made mini cakes flavoured and decorated like different soaps they are famous for!

That’s no moon…

Christening cakes

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

The Cottage Garden

Its coming along quite nicely!!

We've got tomatoes, cucumbers, gherkins, rocket, two types of lettuce, spinach, courgettes, peppers, herbs, french beans, strawberries, gralic and three mystery plants (labels had washed off after Dad gave them to me!)

Looking forward to the tomatoes the most, all three plants are covered in tiny green ones! Homegrown tomatoes are in a league of their own when it comes to taste!

Saturday, 3 July 2010

Italian Berry Cake

I have no idea where this recipe comes from but it is so good! It's scribbled down on the back of an old piece of wrapping paper which makes its origins even more perplexing!

It's lovely in cupcake cases for an individual treat or baked in a 7inch round deep tin for sharing!


100gr of butter
200gr of golden caster sugar (plus 2tbsp extra blended with 1tsp of cinnamon to sprinkle on before baking)
2 eggs
250ml sour cream
1tsp of vanilla extract
250gr self raising flour (sifted with 1/2 tsp of baking powder and 1/2tsp of baking soda)
3tsp of cocoa powder
100gr of fresh/frozen raspberries

1, Preheat oven to 200o/c or gas mark 6
2, Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy and beat in the eggs
3, Beat in the sour cream and vanilla extract.
4, In a separate bowl sift all the remaining dry ingredients together and add to the blended wet ingredients
5, Fold in the raspberries and pour into a lined cake tin or lined cupcake tin. Sprinkle with the spare cinnamon/sugar mix
6, Bake for around 30-40 minutes for a large cake or 15-20 minutes for the cupcakes

Caster Sugar on Foodista

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Orange & Chocolate Shortbread

Happy birthday dad!

I normally make him a little cake or buy him a nice bottle of whiskey, but since he was diagnosed with diabetes, sugar laced cakes and alcohol are probably not the best idea! Diabetes UK have an amazing website which shares tips on how to cook for people with both types of diabetes and their recipes pages are great especially if you’re looking for something to satisfy a sweet tooth!

Here is the recipe from their website and it is gorgeous!

The result is a crunchy shortbread that is perfect for dunking!

Flowerpot Bread

I love bread. I don’t mind what type it is, what’s on it or what’s in it as long its coming my way and coming my way fast.

I regularly bake white loaves for sandwiches and, toast in the morning, big Italian focaccia bread for big Italian food nights with friends and simple rolls for picnics.

The smell of bread alone makes me think of home, especially my mum kneading a mountain of dough.!

Leftover unused flower pots from the cottage garden + love of bread = flowerpot bread


650gr of strong white bread flour

1 sachet of dried yeast (7grs)

1tsp of sugar

1tsp of salt

2tbsp of olive oil or melted butter

400ml of warm water

4 x prepared flowerpots (4inch high ones for 4 loaves but bigger if you want bigger loaves!) (oil them well on the inside with vegetable oil and put them in cold oven. Turn the oven on to 200o/c. When the oven has reached 200o/c turn it off and leave until cold)


1, Sift the flour into a large bowl and stir in the sugar, salt and dried yeast. Stir in the olive oil/melted butter

2, Make a well in the centre of the flour and pour in the warm water and mix together with your hands to form a ball

3, Turn onto a clean floured worktop and knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic.

4, Place into clean, oiled bowl and cover tightly with clingfilm. Place in a warm place for 30-40mins until the dough has doubled in size

5, Take the dough out of the bowl and knock the air out of it and knead for a further five minutes.

6, Portion the dough into quarters and place into the prepared flowerpots (see above). They should fill up a little over half way, maybe with some dough leftover. Don’t overfill or they will balloon over the edge. Put the flowerpots filled with dough into large polythene bags and return to somewhere warm for another 30 minutes or until risen again.

7, Put into a hot oven (200o/c) for 20-35 minutes depending on flowerpot size. Be careful when removing the pot as they will be really, really hot!