Merry Christmas!!

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I certainly hope Mr Clause was good to you all? He certainly was good to me sending a beautiful Kitchenaid food processor down my chimney! No more bashing biscuits with a rolling pin for me, no sir!!

Although santa was a very nice man this year, I feel he didn't do his research as he brought me a present I already have in my possession!


Yep, he brought me another copy of the wonderfully creative book Hello Cupcake! Whatever shall I do with my second copy I hear you ask, well dear reader, I thought I'd be as kind as the fat man himself and pass this treat directly to you!! Yes you, wherever in the world you may be!!

How do you enter? Well, read on!!

1. Comment on this post telling me what you got for Christmas. Yep, I'm nosy, what of it!
2. Tweet about this post and link back to my blog. Post another comment telling me you've done this.
3. Click that lovely little button over there *points* that says follow and again, post a comment and let me know!

That's 3, yes 3 ways you can win this brilliant book!! You have until the 31st of December to enter this one and the winner will be announced on Jan 2nd (new years day hangover you see).

Good luck my puddings!
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All I Want for Christmas

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When a company asked me to a great foodie gift on a budget I knew exactly what to choose! I've been eyeing this beautiful Le Creuset Heart Casserole for months and seeing as it's been reduced to a mere £20 it's perfect for those shopping on a budget.

I'm in love, total love! I simply can't wait to cook up my first casserole!And please visit VoucherCodes, they can help you save on cookware with many different voucher codes, including Amazon :D
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MSC Christmas!

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Is there anything better than the smell of gingerbread at Christmas? No, that's the answer, no there isn't! That aromatic fug that fills every room with festive delight leaves me with nothing but joy in my heart! With this in mind I'd like to thank Kayte over at Grandma's Kitchen for choosing these amazing gingerbread cupcakes for this months Martha Stewarts Cupcake Club.


I made these cupcakes for an event a friend and I were asked to hold a stall at so unfortunately I didn't get to try any of these adorable treats. Saying that, they were some of the first to sell out and everyone that walked by commented on how sweet they were. I'll definitely be making these ones again!!
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Oh Nigella

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One thing I love about TV in December is all the celebrity chefs Christmas specials. Some days I can hardly drag myself off the sofa, as long as I have a steaming mug of tea, a cat on my lap and the Sky remote, I'm a happy wookie. One of my very favorites is Nigella's Christmas, I mean, who doesn't love Nigella?! I watched them last year, I'm watching this year and will probably watch the very same series next year too :) I just can't get enough.


One thing I loved about Nigella's Christmas was these Christmas Chocolate Cookies. I adore the homemade style of these biscuits, how the icing dribbles any which way it pleases taking the festive sprinkles with it. Just perfect with your morning cup of tea or just something to keep you going while braving those dreaded Christmas crowds.

Nigella's Christmas Chocolate Cookies

250g unsalted butter softened
150g caster sugar
40g cocoa powder
300g plain flour
1/2 tsp bicarb
1 tsp baking powder

For the topping:
2 big tbsp cocoa powder
175g icing sugar
60ml boiling water
1 tsp vanilla extract
Christmas sprinkles

Preheat the oven to 170C and line a baking sheet with baking paper.

Cream the butter and sugar together till light and fluffy. Beat in cocoa powder, once mixed in add the flour with the bicarb and baking powder and mix until combined.

Once dough is formed pinch off walnut sized lumps and roll into balls. Place them upon the prepared baking tray spacing them well apart.

Bake them for 15 minutes, the biscuits should look dry and slightly cracked on top. Place cookies onto a wire rack with some newspaper underneath to catch any drips from the topping.

To make the topping place all the ingredients in a pan and place over a low heat, whisking till everything is combined and smooth.

When the biscuits are cool drizzle each one with a spoonful of the topping giving them a delicious uneven, dribble look. After you've topped 6 of the cookies scatter with Christmas sprinkles, if you try to top them all before sprinkling you'll find the cocoa 'glue' will have dried and the sprinkles won't stick.
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Primrose Cupcakes

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Sorry guys, no SMS yet again! I can't abide coffee or coffee flavoured things (with the exception of coffee revels which are divine) so this weeks selection of chocolate espresso cheesecake just didn't rock my world. I'm sure the coffee lovers found this one to die for so as usual check out their blogs for unbiased testimonies.

Instead I fancied something a bit sunnier and much lighter than a cheesecake so I decided to test out the lemon cupcake recipe from the Primrose Bakery Cookbook. I've used this book quite a few times and I just can't decided whether I prefer it to the much loved Hummingbird book so I pit it against one of my favorite HBB recipes, a simple lemon cupcake.


I have to admit, I much prefer the Hummingbird cupcake, they just weren't lemony enough for my tastes but the frosting from Primrose was far superior. Mainly because I didn't have to make a double batch to ice my cakes. Put them together and I think I have a winner! Lovely!
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Snow Flecked Brownies

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It's the first of December, my advent calender has been opened and eaten and a morning browse through my Google reader reminded me that it was also the day for the delightful Sweet and Simple Bakes to be posted. This was another Sweet and Simple bake I just couldn't bear to miss, snow flecked brownies from the one and only Nigella Lawson. I've made these decedent treats many times before but I'm always looking for an excuse to bake up a fresh batch!


I love how they look with a delicate dusting of icing sugar settled upon the crispy crust, doesn't it just look like Christmas?

Check out the Sweet and Simple Bakes homepage from the 2nd December for everyone elses brownies.
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Thrice as nice

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I'm sad today, very sad indeed. I was really looking forward to this weeks SMS, raised waffles with brown sugar bananas. Now, doesn't that sound divine? Doesn't it just sound like the most perfect Sunday breakfast? Well, that's what I thought but unfortunately the waffle iron I ordered arrived whilst I was shopping in York and was carted back off to the sorting office, unable to be liberated till Monday morning. Sweet Melissa Tuesday maybe?


Since I found myself unable to participate this Sunday I decided to try a recipe I've had bookmarked for a rainy day, and boy was it a rainy day today! Triple lemon slice, that's right triple lemon. These bars are like a little ray of sunshine in this cold and blustery November. So light, so tangy, a tiny taste of Summer.

Triple Lemon Slice

For the base:
250g digestive biscuits
180g butter, melted
Zest of 1 lemon

For the first layer:
1 can condensed milk
2tsp gelatin
3/4 cup boiling water
1/2 cup lemon juice

Topping:
1 pack lemon jelly
1pt boiling water

Lightly grease a 20cm by 30cm tin and put to one side.

For the base crush the digestive biscuits into tiny crumbs and add the melted butter and zest. Combine then press evenly into the prepared tin. Pop in the fridge to chill until cold.

For the filling dissolve the gelatin in the boiling water and leave to one side to cool. Combine the condensed milk and lemon juice before adding the cooled gelatin infused water. Mix together and pour carefully onto the chilled base. Place back into the fridge to chill until cold.

Follow the instructions on your pack of jelly to make 1 pint. Leave to cool slightly until the mixture goes slightly gloopy, like egg whites. Pour carefully upon the other layers and place back into the fridge till the jelly has set completely and cut into squares,
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SMS & British Food Fortnight

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I know most of you will be expecting either my weekly SMS post or even my round up for British Food Fortnight. Well I'm afraid you won't find them here, not today!

I do have an excuse, a good one! My sweet, darling kitty, Marmalade was rushed to pussycat hospital on Thursday morning with a blocked urethra. Although I got him back on Friday afternoon I've spent the entire weekend nursing him back to health, worrying every time he went into the litter and force feeding him medication. Good news though, he's well on the way to normality and he's weeing like a champ so I can finally relax (easier said than done).

I've been so worried my face currently resembles a pizza! Yes, not only did I break out in worry spots but I also developed a stress cold sore. How wonderful!

Anyway, business as normal commencing very soon!
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Devils Food Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting

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This weeks SMS was supposed to be a huge layered devils food cake, smothered in peanut butter frosting, but as you can see, I decided to scale down the recipe and make cupcakes instead.


Not only are cupcakes much cuter than a layer cake, but I find a huge cake a lot harder to get rid of than their hand held counterparts. For example:

Me: 'hello mister postman/window cleaner/anybody who happens across my house. Would you like a cupcake?'
House Caller: 'Why yes, that would be lovely, thank you'
Me: *hands over cupcake, smiles and closes the door*

Rather than:

Me: 'Hello mister postman/window cleaner/anybody who happens across my house. Would you like a slice of cake?'
House Caller: 'Why yes, that would be lovely, thank you'
Me: 'How wonderful, let me cut you a slice, hold on, I'll also grab you a plate. Oh, and you'll need a fork too, won't you... and a napkin?'

See the difference?

Anyway, I digress. The cupcakes were awesome, utterly awesome! Saying this, I did use a different frosting recipe to the one Melissa stated in the book as I feel six sticks of butter is a little too close to a heart attack for my liking.

Check out the wonderful Holly of Phe/MOM/enon for the recipe and as always check the SMS ladies for more cakey deliciousness!

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Spiced Pumpkin Cookie Cakes

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I was a little dubious about this recipe, as was everyone else when I told them I was making a sweet treat containing pumpkin. The general reaction was a furrowing of the brow, curling of the lip and the statement 'remember the pumpkin brownies, Katie? Is that something you really want to recreate?' Although my pumpkin brownies were a total failure I still couldn't leave this one be, I mean Americans do love their pumpkin deserts and millions of people can't be wrong! So, I went in search of canned pumpkin and ended up paying £3.50 in my local food hall. They better be worth it!


Once finished, I brought the cookie cakes into the living room, presenting them as nicely as I possibly could. Slowly, one by one, people approached the cookies and sheepishly took one. Looking at each other they raised them to their lips, closed their eyes and took a tentative nibble. I studied their faces, waiting for a reaction. The nervousness suddenly faded away and was replaced with delight! 'Wow! They're so spicy, can I have another?' Yes, another winner! Thank you Sweet Melissa and thank you Debbie, if it wasn't for you I'd have pushed pumpkin based treats aside, never to attempt again.

Have a lookie at the other SMS girls, Americans do it better ;)
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British Food Fortnight!

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Don't you love autumn? So chilly yet so sunny, it really is the most wonderful season. The best thing about autumn in my opinion is the food! Pies and stews all served with a steaming pile of buttery mash followed by a crumble swimming in fresh custard. This past month the wonderful Rosy of Rosy Lips and Lavender and I have been emailing back and forth about our love of Autumn when we had an idea, a brilliant idea if I do say so myself. Since we both missed British Food Week we decided to host our very own baking event celebrating good, hearty British food!


Wanna take part? We sure hope you do! The event will run from the 26th October to the 7th of November. Rosy will be hosting the round up for the main meals on the 31st while I will be hosting the deserts on the 7th!

All you have to do to take part is:

All you need to do is cook up a British inspired main meal and a desert using some autumns finest produce!

Blog about your creation during either the main meal or desert week.

Email Rosy @ rosy [at] rosylipsandlavender [dot] com with a link to your main meal post and a small picture of your creation and do the same with me @ katiewantsapony [at] hotmail [dot] com with your desert entry!

Main meals must be in by 29/10/09 and deserts by 6/11/09.

And of course, don't forget to have fun :D
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MSC

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If you're here looking for this months Martha Stewart's Cupcake Club post I'm afraid you're going to be disappointed.

Since this weeks SMS and MSC are both very similar I'm going to combine the two on Sunday. Plus, I'm too cheap to pay £8 for two tins of canned pumpkin from my local food hall ;)

Come back on Sunday, dear reader.

Much love

Katie xox
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Cinnabuns, sweet sweet cinnabuns

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This weeks Sweet Melissa Sunday was supposed to be Sticky Buns with Toasted Almonds but as I browsed through the recipe I noticed Melissa's cinnamon variation hiding quietly at the end. Cinnamon buns I thought, screw the sticky buns, I'm making those!


Cinnamon is probably my favorite thing in the world, well, favorite thing in the world to eat, I dread to think about the amount of tubs I go through in a year. Sweet, savory, sprinkled on cakes and pancakes, is there anything this beautiful spice can't make better? In a word, no!

My dough turned out rather sticky, much like the brioche bee stings a few month back. Even after the full 15 minutes kneeding the dough still slapped itself all over the mixer. I added 3 heaped tbsp of extra flour which seemed whip it into shape. Also, my first rise took about 3 hours and the second around an hour and a half but even with all the extra waiting these buns won my heart. I baked them up 9am on Sunday morning before a trip to the market and what a wonderful breakfast they provided. Delightful.



Thank you to Jen of Not Microwave Safe for this lovely pick! Perfect for those chilly mornings we all know too well. Check out the SMS girls for more sticky buns!
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Butternut Squash and Goats Cheese Pie

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As my Sunday tradition details, when going to a friends house I must always have some sort of baked good on my person. The odd few times I've turned up at said friends house empty handed the mood instantly dampens and the guilt trips commence. Since the last few trips have been of the empty handed persuasion I felt I should really make it up to my wonderful chums in the shape of a pie. Nothing says I love you like a pie!


What I love about pies is that anything and everything goes. Got some potatoes and cheese that needs using up, make a pie. Some berries threatening to go bad stashed at the bottom of your fridge, make a pie! It really is the ultimate fridge clear out meal.

I happened upon this glorious specimen as I was casually leafing through the latest copy of Delicious Magazine last week at work. I flicked past the page and paused, I had that feeling. You know the one, when you know you're missing out on something good. So, I turned back the page and gasped at the beautiful image I was confronted with. Unfortunately, I was far too eager to play with my new camera to allow the pie a proper cooling period and attacked it while still warm. This resulted in the sloppy filling rather than the perfectly layered rainbow of yumminess in Delicious, but hey, I'm an impatient child at heart.

Butternut Squash, spinach and goat's cheese pie with cheesy pastry

Ingredients:

  • 2 small butternut squashes, peeled, de-seeded and cut into thick slices
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp ras el hanout
  • Pinch of chilli flakes
  • 2 red onions, thinly sliced
  • 4 whole garlic cloves, skins on
  • 500g baby spinach (I used normal spinach)
  • 250g ricotta
  • 50g pine nuts
  • 200g soft, rindless goat cheese sliced

  • 350g plain flour
  • 50g coarse polenta (I used fine)
  • 150g cold butter, diced
  • a pinch of salt
  • 60g grated parmesan (I used local strong cheddar)
Method:

  • For the pastry mix the flour, polenta and salt in a large bowl. Add the butter and rub together till the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the cheese and 5tbsp of cold water (add the water slowly, you may not need it all) till the dough sticks together. Kneed gently until it forms a ball, wrap the pastry in cling film and leave to chill in the fridge for at least 20 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200C. Scatter the butternut squash in a large roasting tray and drizzle with half of the olive oil, scatter over the chili flakes, ras el hanout and cumin seeds and season well with salt and black pepper. Roast in the oven, stirring occasionally for 40 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, add the sliced onions and garlic cloves to another roasting tray with the rest of the olive oil. Halfway through roasting the squash add the onions to the oven and cook for 20 minutes. Remove the squash and onions from the oven, squeeze out the garlic from the skins and mash the roasted garlic up with the onions.
  • Place the spinach in a colander and pour over a kettle of boiling water. Refresh with some cold water and squeeze out any excess liquid. Mix with ricotta and season with salt.
  • On a lightly floured surface roll out 2/3 of the pastry and use it to line a 23cm springform time(I used an 18cm tin and reduced the cooking time to 25 mins). Add half the spinach mixture in a layer, then distribute half of the squash on top of that. Scatter with half of the pine nuts and goat's cheese. Repeat for another layer before adding the garlicky onions on top.
  • Roll out the rest of the pastry then lay on top of the pie, pushing the edges to seal well. Make a hole in the centre and decorate the top with the left over pastry. Brush the top of the pie with beaten egg and sprinkle with a handful of parmesan. Bake in the preheated oven for 35 - 40 minutes till golden brown on top. Leave to cool for 10 minutes before removing from the tin.
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SMS on a Sunday, for once!

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My first on time SMS post in weeks. I'm so proud!

I'm going to keep this one short but sweet as I'm so exhausted I could just lay my head upon my laptop and sleep for 1000 years. This weekend, we at Bigface Studio have been shooting a charity calender for Claires Message, a campaign to lower age of cervical screening to 20 in the UK. 15 models, 7 hours, 3 workers. Despite the early rise and hard work it turned out to be one of the most rewarding days I have ever spent. Some of the stories I was exposed to were utterly shocking yet so inspirational! Needless to say, as soon as the day drew to a close I was straight on the phone to my GP arranging my first cervical screening.

For those of you in the North of England, keep an eye out on Monday daytime and evenings ITV news for the full story.


This weeks recipe was chosen by Hanaa of Hanaa's Kitchen and is quite different from most of the other treats we've been baking up over the months. This week, we made caramelized onion, sage and cheddar muffins, that's right, savory muffins! I've never had a savory muffin before so I was quite excited to try these out, even more so after the SMS girls were talking of their spicy kick. I altered the recipe quite a bit just to fit what I had on hand, I added chunks of feta cheese and rather than onions I used caramelized shallots.

The muffins were a roaring success. I didn't have very high hopes and convinced myself they would stick to the muffin try and fall apart when I tried to remove them but each and every one came out perfectly. I haven't tried one yet as I have a pan of basil and tomato soup simmering away in the kitchen that is begging to be paired with these muffins. What a perfect supper for a chilly Autumn day.

Check out the SMS girls for more muffins.
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Go nuts for Donuts!

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Today was my last day at work. 8 years of my life, 2 milestone birthdays, many ups and many downs, through it all the only stability was working in a music community centre. It was the only thing I ever stuck at, till now. At first I was sad, but remembering I was moving on to bigger and better things I grew excited, butterflies started fluttering and in the end I walked through the doors of The Soundroom with a big smile on my face. You had a huge influence on my growing up and helped sculpt me into the adult I am today. I'll miss you!


My working day drew to an end at 12.30pm and my original plan for the rest of the afternoon was for me to attack my garden fence with pretty coloured Ronseal. Unfortunately, while walking home in the blustery autumn air I soon saw the error of my plans and decided to instead, make doughnuts! I bought the most darling little doughnut tin a few days a go and haven't been able to stop thinking about, looking at or talking about those little sugary treats.



Aren't they cute? I just can't stop looking at them, almost too adorable to eat.....almost.

Baked Doughnuts!

225g plain flour
1tsp vanilla extract
175g caster sugar
1tbsp melted butter
2tsp baking powder
175ml milk
2 large eggs beaten
1/2tsp salt

Preheat oven to 160C and prepare the doughnut pan by brushing a little cooking oil in each hole.

Combine all the ingredients and mix well. Pour mixture into each hole, filling them to around half full. Bake in the centre of the oven for 15 minutes.

Allow to cool, remove from pan and have fun decorating!
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Sweet Melissa Mondays, yet again.

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Wow, this day late thing is turning into quite the habit! I would have posted these earlier but my Sunday was spent at my mums making Sunday lunch while my boy helped my step dad fix the garage door. But, we fixed, we ate, we made Eton Mess, we slept. And after all, isn't that what Sundays are all about?


So here they are, a day late but shh! I'll be on time next week, I promise. This weeks recipe was chosen by Robin of Lady Craddock's Bakery (I love the name of that blog, don't you?), how she remains as fantastically buff as she does after making all those delicious treats is beyond me. Robin, may I please have your secret, my butt is increasing steadily! Robin chose a treat very dear to my heart, scones, orange scented scones to be precise. Scones are the quintessential English treat and the perfect accompaniment to afternoon tea which, in my humble opinion, should be a part of your everyday daily ritual! Gather together the scones, clotted cream, jam, pair with a beautifully brewed cup of tea and a good book and there you have it, heaven!

I added chocolate chips as orange just doesn't seem right without a smidgen of chocolatey goodness. As per, don't forget to check out the SMS girls for more delightful scones.
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My Neighbor Totoro

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At the beginning of this month my little brother turned 20! Yep, that means my 'little brother' is no longer a teenager. As I watched him blow out his 20 candles I finally felt my youth slip away, I think this moment hit me harder than the day I woke up on the wrong side of 25. I went straight to the bathroom and started hunting for grey hairs and wrinkles beginning to form around my eyes. My saving grace was a wonderfully rude cashier from ASDA a few days later. I trudged to the checkout, grasping a bottle of Sailor Jerry's Rum between my aging fingers, I handed the bottle to the sour faced woman who placed it on the table next to her and asked in an accusing manner, 'do you have any ID?'. It was like the sun had broken through my little grey cloud. I may well be on the fast track to my 30th but as long as I can be mistaken for an underage drinker I am a happy girl!

(I know, he looks more like a happy kitty than Totoro but he was my favorite!)

To celebrate my brothers transition into his 20's I made him a batch of cupcakes topped with the adorable character Totoro! Totoro is a Studio Ghibli creation from the animated film My Neighbor Totoro and my brother loves him, well, him and anything else from the Japanese culture! I used a basic chocolate chip cupcake topped with peppermint cream cheese frosting and fondant sculpted Totoros. I got the idea from one of my very favorite food blogs A Cat in the Kitchen!
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Late...again!

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Bah, I was determined to post this week SMS on time, I had it baked, photographed and ready to go. Then, well, life happened. I ended up going out with some of my lovely girls and getting a tinsy bit squiffy. My whole Sunday was written off, I took up refuge on the couch, remote in one hand and takeaway menu in the other. I must be getting old if a hangover takes a day and a half to clear :S Oh to be 21 again.

But, here I am! Yes, a day late but it's better than never. This weeks recipe was the perfect pound cake, personally I've never had, baked or even been in the same room as a pound cake before so I don't really have that much to base my reaction on but boy was it tasty. So dense, so...well perfect! I baked my cake in a bundt as I felt the tins have been neglected slightly, it didn't rise as much as I'd hoped so next time I'll stick with the traditional loaf. Check out Michelle at Veggie Num Nums for the recipe, and of course, to oggle her amazingly adorable kitties!


Now, for something completely different. OK, not completely different as it's still a cake but a vegetable cake! Everyone knows I'm a huge fan of carrot cake, I flippin love the stuff so this months Zucchini Spice Cupcakes from the Martha Stewart Cupcake Club (yes, I have joined ANOTHER baking group) was a definite winner for me. I almost think I'm doing something good when I eat a cake baked with vegetables, I mean, it counts as one of your five a day....right? Right!


I love these cakes, love love love! What a perfect recipe for the start of autumn. Like a hug from your mam in a cuppie liner. Delicious!
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Déjà vu?

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Yeah yeah, I'm well aware that I posted about my 'first paid order' a few weeks ago. Well, scratch that, pretend you never read it, it never happened...right? Right! I'm choosing to discount that particular order as it was for a very good friend of mine and the only reason I took the money was to pay for the edible glitter she wanted, I love her far too much to gain from her happiness :) Anyway I digress, this here is my first real paid order!


Let me tell you a story, there's one person in Newcastle you go to for wedding, birthday and party cupcakes, and her name is Lottie McPhee! She owns a tearoom in Gosforth, holds several market stands a month and pretty much owns the whole cakey lottery oop north! All said, dear Lottie is going on holiday to foreign lands, lucky for her and lucky for me ;) A client of hers ordered 100 cupcakes for a wedding anniversary but when confirming the order, Mcphee declared she was to be away so couldn't help her. Through some good friends and this here blog, the lovely client came to me with her request. Lets just say I was happy to help :D


I thought it would be a breeze, but boy oh boy is 100 cupcakes a lot! I was on all day, but thankfully I now know ingredient margins for such a huge number. This has really helped me with understanding bulk order requirements and I'll be much more prepared next time. If there ever is a next time.


Martha Stewart was my savior through this, her easy to follow recipes and bulk baking techniques really pulled me through! Thank you Martha! I followed her basic chocolate chip base and added white chocolate chips to 50, raspberries and white chocolate to 25 and strawberry cheesecake to 25.
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Sweet and Simple Bakes

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It's been a while since I participated in the wonderful Sweet and Simple Bakes monthly challenge. I always start off with good intentions but then before I know it, it's the first of the month and I've gone and forgotten all about it. This month I was determined to make the deadline, I was going to join in, I had to! And how better to adhere to a looming deadline? Make it well in advance of course! I only wish I lived by these rules while at uni.


When I saw what was on the menu for this month, well I couldn't help but bake them super early! So early in fact, I had them baked and eaten on the 2nd of August, check my bad self out. Jammy doughnut muffins, how could you resist such a thing? I had the majority eaten before they even had time to cool. I made these muffins with my homemade Strawberry and Gooseberry jam for even more of a home made feel.

Jammy Doughnut Muffins

Makes 12

Ingredients
275g (10 oz) plain (all-purpose) flour
3 tsp baking powder
Pinch salt
100g (4 oz) caster (superfine) sugar
2 eggs
200ml (7 fl oz) milk
75g (3 oz) unsalted (sweet) butter, melted and cooled
1 tsp vanilla extract
12 tsp strawberry or raspberry jam

For The Toping
100g (4 oz) unsalted (sweet) butter
150g (5 oz) granulated sugar
½ tsp ground cinnamon (optional)

You will need 12 hole muffin tin lined with paper cases.
Method
Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F/Gas mark 5.

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a large mixing bowl, and stir through the sugar. In large jug, lightly beat the eggs then add the milk, cooled butter and vanilla extract and beat together. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients stir gently until just combined. (Do not over mix, its fine to have a few lumps in the mixture.) Spoon half the muffin mixture into the base of each paper case. Top each muffin with a teaspoon of jam. Now equally between each paper case, top with the remaining muffin mixture. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 – 20 minutes until well risen, golden and firm to the touch.

For The Topping: melt the butter in a saucepan over a low heat. Spread the granulated sugar in a wide, shallow bowl with the cinnamon if using. When the muffins are baked, leave in the tin for 5 minutes. Dip the tops of the muffins in the melted butter and then roll in the sugar. You can serve these muffins warm or cold; however, I do prefer to eat them whilst warm.
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Finally!

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First of all, I'd like to apologise to the wonderful Joy of Hot Oven Warm Heart for taking so damned long to get this post up! This is one recipe I've really been looking forward to and I go and get ill. I'm such a sickly child! But, better late than never.


Banana bread is one of my very favorite things to bake. I absolutely, positively adore the stuff. The thing that got me excited about this particular banana bread was the apples, not only do you add chopped Granny Smiths to the batter, but you go and caramelize them first! My heart just skipped a beat! Caramelized apple in banana bread, how delightfully nomtastic!

I have to admit, this recipe has bumped my previous go to banana bread recipe to the back of the class! I just can't describe how amazing, how mouthwateringly delicious this cake is! Spicy and sweet, moist and sticky. I just can't get enough! My breakfast for the next week has been sorted, don't know what the boyf is going to do ;)
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Winner

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And the winner, as generated by random.org is comment number 36:

Rosie

What a great Giveaway Katiecakes!! I would just L-O-V-E to own this book!! Thank you for the chance to win :0)

My ingredient would have to be beetroot because I have been pondering on making a red velvet cake without all the red colouring. Hopefully the beetroot would stain the sponge enough and with veggies included it’s got to be healthy don’t you think ???

Congratulations Rosie, mail me your details and the book will soon be winging it's way to you!

Also, I'm so sorry I haven't yet posted my SMS for this week. My weekend was super hectic and I've suddenly been struck down with a dreadful cold. I promise it will be up as soon as possible :(
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My first giveaway!

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Since the release of Red Velvet and Chocolate Heartache I've been lusting after Harry Eastwood's newest venture into healthy baking. I'd go into borders, pull up a stool and drool longingly over the beautiful photography and the mouthwateringly delicious cakes for hours. Eventually I thought enough was enough, after all I was starting to get funny looks from the staff. I bought the book and have poured over it ever since. Mere days after my purchase a friend tells me they have acquired a free copy and would I like it. Naturally I thought of you, dear readers. And here we have it, my first giveaway. A brand new copy of Harry's beauty of a cookbook, Red Velvet and Chocolate Heartache.


You have 2 ways to enter, first of all I'd like you to leave a comment telling me of the most unusual ingredient you have, or would like to bake with and how you would use it. If you want to leave a link to a specific blog post I'd love to see.

Secondly, tell someone about the give away. Tweet it/blog it/yell it from the roof tops, whatever you want just make sure leave a comment letting me know what you've done. And don't forget to link it back to this post ;) The winner will be chosen at random from a generator so enter twice, once with your ingredient and once with your promotion of the giveaway to maximize your chances.

This competition is open to EVERYONE (I rang the post office and found it wasn't as expensive to post to the USA as I first though, the website lied) only and will run till August 24th. Winners will be announced Tuesday 25th of August!

Good luck guys :D
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SMS Hazelnut Truffles

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Well, I think this is the very first Sweet Melissa Sunday I had an easier time locating ingredients than my American and Canadian counterparts. I'm usually on the P&Q fretting over course corn starch or asking what shortening is but not this time. One trip to Tesco and I not only found hazelnuts, but I found ready roasted and chopped hazelnuts for £1 whilst everyone over the pond were hunting high and low only to discover a bag for $8! For once, I lucked out!


These truffles were so so simple to make, just a case of melting chocolate and cream together and letting it set. As I've mentioned many times before, I live in a world of nut haters so rather than having to eat a whole batch of hazelnut truffles, I made more than half of them plain. But, to mine, and everyone else's surprise, the nutty truffles actually turned out to be the favored of the two, even among the nut haters. They were like little Ferrero Rocher's.

I subbed the hazelnut liqueur for almond extract as I didn't really fancy spending £10 on a bottle of booze I'd probably never use again. Check the delicious blog Living Life Foodcariously by the lovely Annie for this simple and delicious recipe! And, get yourself over the the SMS girlies to check out some more truffletastic entries.
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My first paid order

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A few weeks ago I was commissioned by a friend to bake a batch of cupcakes for a birthday present. I've never been paid for my cakes before and normally I wouldn't take money from a friend, allas she wouldn't take no for an answer.


She gave me free reign over the cakes, her only request was they must be peppermint. So, of course I made a chocolate chip cupcake (chocolate and mint were made for each other, I'm sure you all agree) with a basic peppermint butter cream. It all seemed a little boring so I decided to try out a technique that had been floating around my mind for a while now. Pink and white two tone frosting! I was overjoyed with the result, the only problem I had was super sticky hands from layering the colours in my piping bag, yick!!

Two Tone Frosting:

250g icing sugar
80g unsalted butter
25ml milk
a few drops of peppermint extract
Pink food colouring

Beat together the sugar and butter until the mixture comes together. Add the milk a few drops at a time until you reach your desired consistency. Continue to beat until the frosting is light and fluffy.

Transfer half the frosting into another bowl and add one or two drops of pink food colouring. Mix till the colour is evenly distributed.

Take a piping bag fitted with your favorite nozzle and lay it down on a counter top. Take spoonfulls of the white frosting and lay it on the bottom half of the bag, once all the white frosting is used take the pink and scoop it on top of the white. Take care not to over fill the bag! Fasten bag and pipe away :)
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Snickerdoodles :))

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I've always wondered why snickerdoodles are called snickerdoodles. They're nothing like a good old Snickers and I feel they're too big to justify the name doodle. Regardless, these little gems are up there in my very favorite cookies. But, I'm a horrible cinnamon addict so I'm bias. Come the winter months a spoon full of cinnamon will be ending up in every single cake I make. I just can't stop myself!


Now, first of all I have to say that these snickerdoodles are the very best I've ever tasted. So soft and gooey, it's a melt in the mouth extravaganza! Thank you so much, Spike for choosing Snickerdoodles! Such a giant winner!! The one problem I have with this recipe is the fact it yields 3 dozen cookies, 3 DOZEN! Who's going to eat all of these lovely biccies I ask you? Me, that's who!! Better add another 10 minutes to my daily Wii Fit regime.

Now, if you excuse me my snickerdoodles and I are off to picnic in the countryside.

Don't forget to check out the other bakers, I doubt any of them would miss such a delicious Treat!
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Girl dates are the best dates

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Who here hasn't seen Twilight? I'm guessing most people with girly parts under the age of 35 have had the pleasure of witnessing this romantic re-envisioning of the classic vampire tale. Strangely, two of my very good friends had yet to see this pointy toothed teen romance and in my eyes this was something to rectify, as soon as possible! We arranged a date, got rid of our boy halves for the evening and settled in for a heart warming night with my Twilight blu-ray and 50" TV! What better way to watch than in enormous HD. *swoon*

Since the girls were coming over I felt I had to whip up some dainty treats for us to nibble upon. After an afternoon perusing my mountains of cookery books I finally decided upon ginger Madeleine's (which I forgot to photograph), sugar cookies and a gorgeous lemon cloud cake.


Having never flood filled a cookie before, I knew it was something I needed to try. Rather than starting out with something complex, I decided on some simple hearts. I got the recipe for the royal icing from Not Quite Nigella after I read about her maiden voyage into flood filling (you must check out her super adorable poodle cookies). The whole process was actually a lot easier than I first though, well, once I got the hang of it. Out of the 12 cookies I made, only 8 of them were worthy of the girls.


The cloud cake was something I've been meaning to make for the longest time. I'm utterly obsessed with lemon deserts, lemon meringue pie being my absolute favorite! This cake embodies everything a lemon meringue pie offers with the amazing addition of a fluffy sponge base. Not only does it look absolutely dreamy but when you slice it open, lemon curd comes spilling out, soaking into the cake layer, yum!! You can find the recipe on the BBC Good Food site.
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Sweet Melissa Sunday: Peanut Butter Cookies

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I never really understood people that don't like peanut butter, much like those who don't like cheese. I don't think they're to be trusted, how can you not adore peanut butter. So salty, yet so sweet. When I lived in my old flat, my room mate would awake every morning and breakfast upon a huge slice of toast slathered with peanut butter and nutella spread, since then it has remained one of my very favorite morning treats. But, of the people who love peanut butter, like me, there's still the question of which side of the peanutty fence they fall, chunky or smooth? Are you a chunky gal, hungry for a bit of bite in your butter or are you a smooth lady, sophisticated and creamy spreading it elegantly upon your toasted sourdough? I'm a chunky girl, I love crunching the chunks of peanut between my front teeth, much to my fiances annoyance. Saying that, I only had smooth to hand so rather than give in and make delicate wee cookies, I tossed aside my tablespoon scoop and instead attacked my dough wielding a huge ice cream scoop!

Well, they certainly weren't delicate. Much like a Yorkie bar, these cookies aren't for girls, or at least faint hearted girls! These babies pack a punch fit for a king! My way only yielded around 15 cookies, rather than the two dozen stated in the recipe, but what can I say? I like my cookies like I like my peanut butter, chunky!

Check out the wonderful Stephanie over at Ice Cream Before Dinner for the recipe and as always check out the SMS gals for their delightful cookies!
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Stolen food always tastes better

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A few weeks ago both Kris and I both found ourselves with a rare day off, together, at the same time! Normally our days off are filled weeks in advance by our high maintenance (in the best possible way) but much adored chums, but this one was all for us! After a well earned lie in we decided to have a leisurely stroll along the seaside and check out the untouched array of charity stores and cute boutiques. During our shopping expedition hunger struck and we dipped into a lovely little cafe, adorably named Sugarloaf, and ordered ourselves a feast of tea and cake! While waiting for our order I found myself perusing a lifestyle magazine when I came across a recipe for the most delicious looking cake I ever did see. Sneakily, I checked out the waiters position and that of the other customers, making sure no one was in my line of sight. As quietly and discreetly as I could (ignoring the very slow grrrriiiiiiip, sounding like someone trying really hard to open a pack of bonbons silently in the cinema) I tore the page from the magazine and hurriedly stuffed it into my bag. I was like James Bond, with girl parts.



The thing I loved most about this cake, and actually went out of my way to explain to everyone before allowing them a slice, was how the chocolate portion contained only dark chocolate chips while the vanilla contained only white. Add this to the beautifully tart raspberries dotted throughout the batter and you're in tray bake heaven. I actually believe it was fated, written in the stars even, that I was to go into that cafe, pick up that magazine and stumble upon this, this masterpiece of cakery! I beg you, dear readers, to make this cake as soon as possible!

Very Berry Chocolate Tray Bake

175g self raising flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
175g caster sugar
175g butter, at room temp
3 organic, free range eggs, beaten
2-3 tbsp milk
100g white chocolate chunks
150g raspberries
2tbsp cocoa powder
100g dark chocolate chunks

Heat oven to 180C. Grease and line a 20cm square baking tin. Sieve flour and baking powder into a bowl, and stir in sugar. Add butter and eggs, and beat together until the mixture is light and falls from the beaters. You may need to add the milk for the right consistency.

Spoon half the batter into another bowl and add the white chocolate and 100g of the raspberries; mix until the berries begin to break, then set aside. Sift the cocoa powder into the remaining plain mixture and fold in dark chocolate chunks.

Spoon the mixtures into the prepared tin, alternating colours. Drag a fork through the mix to marble the colour. Scatter over the remaining berries and press lightly into the mix. Bake for 25 - 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, remove and leave to cool completely.
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Sweet Melissa Sunday, Jam again

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I still haven't eaten my way through the last batch of jam I made and here I am, making more. Not that I'm complaining, I love jam. It has so many delicious uses. Bake it into cupcakes, slather it on toast, dollop it in a huge bowl of steaming rice pudding or use it to fill cookies. Since I have a cupboard full of jam, I chose the latter as a way of using some of it up. I've never made linzer cookies before but darn it, it sure won't be the last time!


The jam was super easy to make, the apple provided a natural source of pectin so there was no need for preserving sugar, which I believe to be a little too sweet. The citrus provided such a lovely tang to balance the sweetness of the strawberries. Delicious! Thank you to Margot of Effort to Deliciousness for selecting this beautiful recipe and as always, check out the other SMS ladies for more jammy goodness.


Linzer Cookies:

225g unsalted butter , softened
150g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 egg yolks , beaten
250g plain flour
110g ground almonds
raspberry jam, for spreading
icing sugar , to dust

Beat the butter and caster sugar together until pale and fluffy. Add the vanilla and egg yolks and mix thoroughly. Gradually add the flour and ground almonds. Lightly knead the mixture until it comes together in a ball. Wrap and chill for 1 hour.


Heat the oven to 170C/fan 150C/gas 5. Roll the dough out to the thickness of a £1 coin on a lightly floured surface and stamp out biscuits using a 6-7cm cutter. Reshape leftover dough into a ball, re-roll and cut out more biscuits. Stamp out a smaller circle from the middles of half the biscuits.


Put the biscuits on lined baking sheets and bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden. You may need to do these in batches. Rest for a minute then transfer to a cooling rack. When completely cold, spread the whole biscuits with either jam. Dust the ring-shaped biscuits with icing sugar. Put a sugar-dusted ring on top of a jam-covered biscuit and press lightly together.


Oh, and I almost forgot to add. This is my first Sweet Melissa Sunday post as a graduate. Yup, I'm now Katie Deacon BA (hons). Hurrah, although I found the fact I graduated in gryffindor colours far more exciting than actually graduating! (also, please excuse my hair, it was raining awfully heavy on graduation day!)



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Goin vegan with a chocolate and avocado cake

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Not really. I personally couldn't live without cheese, or milk, or meat for that matter. Saying that, I've always wondered about vegan baking, the taste, the look, how it would come together and would I be able to tell the difference. When I saw this cake on Joy the Baker I was amazed, obsessed even. I couldn't stop thinking about the unusual ingredients, the amazing colour of the frosting, how it would taste. In the end it all became too much, I had to make this cake.


Although Joy's cake looked utterly fantastic, I didn't have high hopes for mine. I envisioned two rock hard discus' emerging from my oven, smoldering gently. I thought if I kept my thoughts low I couldn't be disappointed when I inevitably fail. Well, I didn't fail (or I did a little, we'll get to that later) the cakes came out better than most of my normal chocolate cakes. So tall, so chocolatey, so beautiful. I stood looking at them, cooling on the windowsill with love in my eyes. I was so proud.

Next came the frosting, with just avocado, icing sugar and lemon juice I was dubious. On its own it tastes a little odd but as Joy stated, once paired with the cake it will blow you away. It really is important to use the ripest avocados you can get, mine were still a little hard so rather than attempting to mash them I threw the flesh into my blender and hit puree. Sorted!

My failure came when constructing the cake. Due to me over handling one half while still warm, it developed a small crack. No biggie I thought, it'll be fine. Well, once frosted the tiny crack turned into the grand canyon, half of the top layer cascading off the waterfall of beautiful green filling. I fought back the tears, struggling manically to piece the sticky chunks back together. Never use a cracked cake as the top layer, I learned the hard way!

While the cake was good, it wasn't good enough for me to be forever converted to the vegan cake. It was kind of like a chocolate carrot cake in texture. Yummy, but not super duper yummy ;) My search continues.
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Lemon and Poppy Seed cake

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Boy, I sure do love a lemon drizzle cake. I'd even go as far to say it's my very favorite kind of cake. When I'm in a bakery, faced with an array of multi coloured cakes and cookies I'll always opt for old reliable lemon drizzle. I'd grow old with that cake, love and cherish it for always, Katie & LDC 4eva!


When I saw the variation at the end of the Whole Orange Poppy Seed Cake recipe that replaced the orange with lemon, I was over the moon. I mean, I'd already decided on swapping the citrus siblings but this means I'd have something to work from.

The cake was delicious, the glaze was so super tart it pulled your gums over your teeth, but that's how I like my lemony treats. Painfully tangy. I think I'm going to give the orange version a try next, just for comparison.

A big thank you to the fantastic Melissa of Lulu the Baker for choosing this recipe! It's been one of my favorites to date. Go have a browse through the good old SMS bakers for more citrusy poppy seed fun.
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Apple Crumble Custard Creams

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Everyone loves custard creams, they're the ultimate English biscuit perfect for tea dunking. Combine this with a much loved English desert, apple crumble, and you're onto a winner! I discovered this recipe in a book I picked up in Marks and Spencer a few weeks ago, out of the dozens of wonderful cookie recipes this one simply jumped off the pages, begging me to make them.


The dough is a little tricky to work and tore quite easily when cutting out shapes but it really was worth the extra time and care. The bran in the biscuit gave a wonderful hearty crunch and complimented the creamy custard center perfectly. An utterly delightful biscuit, perfect for your morning cup of tea!

Apple Crumble Custard Creams

1 medium apple, peeled, cored and roughly chopped
2 tsp water
125g butter, softened
75g brown sugar
2 tbsp apple juice
150g self raising flour
110g plain flour
30g oatbran (I used wheat bran)
20g dessicated coconut
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp icing sugar

Custard Cream:

1 tbsp custard powder
1 tbsp caster sugar
125ml milk
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
125g cream cheese softened

Stew apple with the water in a small saucepan with the lid on until tender. Mash with a fork and leave to cool.

Beat butter, sugar and apple concentrate in a small bowl till creamy.

Stir in sifted flours, oatbran, stewed apple, coconut and cinnamon in two batches.

Knead dough on floured surface until smooth. Roll dough between two sheets of baking paper till around 3mm thick. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Pre heat oven to 180C/160C fan assisted. Grease oven trays and line with parchment.

Using a cutter cut around 40 shapes from dough. Place shapes around 3cm apart on oven trays and bake for around 12 minutes. Cool on wire racks.

While the biscuits are in the oven, make the custard cream. Blend custard powder, sugar, extract and milk in a small pan; stir over a medium heat until the mixture boils and thickens. Remove from heat, cover surface with clingfilm and leave to cool. Beat the cream cheese until smooth then add custard mixture and beat til combined.

Sandwich cookies with custard cream and serve dusted with icing sugar.
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Sweet Melissa Sunday, Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake

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I've never really been that keen on cheesecake, something about it just never appealed to me. With this in mind I was planning on giving this week a miss but in a fit of utter boredom I threw caution to the wind and decided to give it a shot. Unfortunately, and not down to a lack of searching, I simply couldn't find course cornmeal, if I'm honest I'm not even sure I know what it is. So, my cheesecake is made with a plain digestive crust and rather than making the blueberry sauce I decided to bake them right into the cake. Another obstacle I hit was my lack of a Bain Marie, in other words my roasting pan isn't big enough so I reduced the cooking time by 30 minutes and just stuck it in the oven. I actually prefer the look of a baked cheesecake to those done in a Bain Marie, it's those delightfully golden sides that do it for me.



The result was absolutely delicious and has totally changed my previous opinion on the humble cheesecake. I'll defiantly be baking this one again, trying different fruits according to the season.

Please, don't forge to check the SMS blogroll for more fabulous cheesecake and if you want to give this one a try the recipe is over at Elianas A Chica Bakes.
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Caffeine isn't a drug, it's a vitamin

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Anyone who knows me knows that I absolutely despise coffee. I just can't abide the taste, the smell however is out of this world. So, whenever I'm asked to bake with the stuff I'm elated that I get to inhale the beautiful scent while participating in my favorite pastime, baking.


As it was the birthday of my father in law to be, I was asked to whip up a batch of coffee cupcakes to celebrate his 53rd year. Pretty basic and as I've been making a lot of cupcakes recently (it seems I'm baking for pretty much everyones birthday at the moment) I thought I'd try something different. I've always fancied the sound of Swiss Meringue Butter Cream but never got round to trying it, so today was to be the day. A little bit fussier than normal butter cream the SMBC requires constant whisking over a double boiler to thicken up the egg whites, but boy is it worth the extra effort. So silky, so creamy, the most sophisticated frosting I have ever experienced.


Recipe for Coffee Swiss Meringue Butter Cream (from how to eat a cupcake)

170g caster sugar
3 egg whites
1/8 tsp salt

170g unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 tbsp hot water
1 1/2 tsp instant coffee


Put sugar, egg whites and salt into the top of a double boiler over a pan of simmering water. Whisking constantly, cook until sugar has dissolved and mixture is warm (about 160 degrees). Pour heated egg whites into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat egg white mixture on high speed until it forms stiff (but not dry) peaks. Continue beating until fluffy and cooled, about 7 minutes total. Switch to the paddle attachment. With mixer on medium-low, add butter two tablespoons at a time, beating well after each addition. Increase speed to medium-high; continue beating until frosting appears thick, about 3 minutes. Meanwhile, stir 1 1/2 tsp instant coffee into 1 tbsp hot water until dissolved, then put it in the fridge or freezer until it comes down to room temperature. Reduce mixer speed to low and add coffee mixture. Continue beating 1 minute to reduce air bubbles.
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River Cottage Jam

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After months of waiting, my local pick your own farm finally reopened its doors offering up a bounty of delicious locally grown berries. After watching the latest episode of River Cottage, the very episode I watched getting filmed, I was inspired to take a trip to my favorite farm shop to pick some Strawberries and Gooseberries for Hugh's wonderful Strawberry and Gooseberry Jam!


So, off I went, trudging through muddy fields in pursuit of the ripe berries ruining my shoes and coat in the process but the finished product sure was worth the effort! Hugh's preserving method was much shorter than those I've seen before, opting to boil the fruit for only 8 - 9 minutes making this a super quick and super easy jam for first timers like me.


The resulting jam was amazing, sweet and juicy strawberries with the sharp tang of the gooseberries, a perfect combination. I'm dying to try his strawberry jam with sweet scented geranium leaves which apparently tastes like a fine wine!


I'd advise anyone who is a bit nervous about jam making to give this recipe a try. Quick, easy and delicious.


Many thanks to my ex graphic designer boyfriend for the label. He even drew the lil fruit himself <3
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Choco cherry tastic!

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It's that time of the week again! This weeks choice was the delectable sounding double chocolate cherry cookies as chosen by Megan of My Baking Adventures. Cookies again I hear you say, but who ever gets tired of chomping on a cookie? Not me!


The preparation for these biscuits were exactly the same as the toasted almond and chocolate chip cookies from two weeks ago (or last week for me), mix, chill, chop, bake. So simple yet so delicious. I much preferred these to the choc chip versions, although I'm a cherry addict so I think I'm a little bias here. I adored the rich, velvety taste of the chocolate when paired with those wonderful dried cherries, add a cup of tea and I was in comfort food heaven.

Check out the other Sweet Melissa Sundays girls for more cookie fun and also don't forget to check Megan's blog for the recipe, you won't be sorry!
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Sunday is my favorite day

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Not only because of the wonderful Sweet Melissa Sunday group but Sunday is the day my very good friend and I meet up for our weekly cakeathon. I'm still keeping shtum about the reasons for this but all will become clear in the next month or so.

This week was our first week back after my op and I was dying to get back into the swing of things. Not to let myself off lightly I decided to make three batches of cakes for us to sample while my chum brought over three batches of her own. I think I put around a stone on that day, bad times. First of all I decided to try a recipe I came across on How To Eat a Cupcake, cherry chocolate cupcakes. Let me tell you, they are delicious! Even my non-cherry eating boyfriend couldn't get enough of them. The cherry flavoured cream cheese was to die for and the little chunks of cherry strewn throughout the cake, well I ate about three and I think that speaks volumes.


Next up I made a smaller batch from a book gifted to me by my very best friend in the world, Cupcake Heaven (thats the name of the book, not my friend, her name's Sarah). From this I chose the banoffee cupcakes topped with cream cheese icing and drizzled with a toffee sauce (the latter was my addition to the recipe). I didn't try one of these as I was too full of choc cherry cake but I have it on good authority that they are amazing! My only problem with these cakes were they just weren't big enough. I'm going to do some experementation and get back to you on this one ;)


Last of all, inspired by the Marks and Spencer's version, I whipped up a batch of vanilla cupcakes filled with strawberry jam and topped with strawberry butter cream. Anyone who's tasted the M&S version will probably agree that they are just too darn sweet and one cupcake is just too much for a single person to enjoy. With this in mind I used quite a tart jam and went easy on the icing. They turned out quite nicely, although the icing was far too stiff, I think next time i'll add a drop more milk.


Can't wait for this Sunday :D

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