Almond and Pistachio Bundt Cake

Have I mentioned my new favorite magazine yet?  I probably have, you're probably sick of hearing me tweet about all of the delicious things I discover within its pages.  No, it's not Delicious, nor is it BBC Good Food (although I hold both dear to my heart), it's actually the Sainsbury's Magazine.  I know, it's mad!  Every month I pick this little beauty up with my shopping and drool over the scrumptious recipes the whole car ride home, bookmarking the best for consumption.  Last month one page I just kept flicking back to was the page containing this almond and pistachio bundt cake.  You all know my love of bundt cakes, my love of pistachios and of course, my love of cake.  What was I waiting for?!

This cake certainly lived up to all of my expectations.  The taste was just out of this world and I was in visual heaven with the bright green frosting.  I just wish I'd coloured my pistachio swirl a little more vivid.  Well, there's always next time. And yes, there bloody well will be a next time!

Marbled Pistachio Cake
(Adapted from Sainsbury's Magazine)

175g soft, unsalted butter
225g golden caster sugar
3 medium eggs
100ml skimmed milk
225g self raising flour
1 1/2tps baking powder
50g ground, unsalted pistachios
50g ground almonds
1tsp almond essence
green food colouring

For the icing
100g icing sugar
1/4tsp almond essence
green food colouring
1tbsp ground unsalted pistachios

Preheat the oven to 190C, fan 170C and butter a 22cm nonstick bundt tin.  Cream the butter and sugar together before adding the eggs one at a time, beating between each addition.  Add the milk, don't worry if the mixture curdles at this point.  Combine the flour and baking powder and add to the mixture, beat until creamy then divide between two bowls.

Fold the ground almonds & almond essence into one half of the cake mixture and the pistachios & green food colouring into the other.  Drop alternating spoon fulls of each mixture into the tin. Gently smooth the surface and bake for 30 - 35 minutes.  Let cool in tin for 10 minutes then run a clean knife around the edges of the cake and turn out to finish cooling on a wire rack.

Blend the icing sugar with a tablespoon of water, the almond essence and the green food colouring.  Keep adding a few drops of water at a time until you reach a nice, thick consistency.  Drizzle over the cake before scattering the top with the chopped pistachios.  Leave to set for an hour.... if you can.

SMS: Almond & Lemon Layer Cake

I can't believe how quickly this past year has gone.  It only feels like yesterday when I was first given the opportunity to delve into the pages of the Sweet Melissa Baking Book and choose something delicious for people all over to world to bake.  My my, time certainly does fly when you're having fun!

So, here we are again.  It's my turn to pick a page and get baking, and the page I landed upon was Lemon Curd and Lemon Mascarpone Frosting!  Boy, try saying that three times fast.  Unfortunately, I am currently sat at my mums house, awaiting everyone to get dressed for a trip out to a lovely country pub for lunch so I'm unable to post the recipe.  But I promise I'll get it up as soon as I possibly can :)

I made quite a few changes to this cake, primarily the frosting!  As I'm going on holiday in a few weeks, heavy cakes and frostings are banned from my lips for the time being in order for my to fit into my new Floozie bikini.  So, rather than making a tonne of delicious, lemony frosting that I just know I wouldn't be able to stay away from, I simply combined a little of the lemon curd with the marscarpone and used it to fill the cake.  That's healthy, right?  I also halved the recipe, baked it in one 9" pan and split it in two.  Perfect!

One thing I can say is I sure am glad I made these changes because I just can't stop eating this amazing treat!  In fact, I'm eating a slice with a cup of tea as I type this along with the rest of my family.  There really is nothing like cake for breakfast on a Sunday :)

Check out the other SMS bakers for a proper, full fat version of this little beauty ;)

Pay it Forward Giveaway!

As I mentioned in my last post, I've been on a lucky streak recently!  Considering I am usually such an unlucky person, this is quite a welcome change.  My normal day to day life pretty much consists of various embarrassing, clumsy and just plain annoying incidents followed by me whining about said incidents to whoever I can coarse into listening.  It really is rather nice to have something other than 'oh I fell down a hole today' to talk about.
One of those lovely little blessings was winning a wonderful competition over at Tinned Tomatoes.  The contest was named Pay it Forward and is quite a unique little idea as by winning you've agreed to pay your good fortune forward.  I was lucky enough to win this delicious package of Scottish themed treats from Jacqueline containing loads of mouth watering goodies!

The butter tablet lasted all of 5 minutes after this photograph was taken :)

I love the coasters.  I took them to work for Kris and myself and they've received a lot of laughs from our north of the border customers.

I can't wait to try this sauce out.  Doesn't whiskey sauce just sound divine?!

If you would like to be in with a chance of winning a hand picked parcel of Newcastle's foodie finest just leave a comment on this post.  The competition will close Sunday 22nd August and is open worldwide!  (Remember, by entering this contest you're agreeing to post about your parcel and hold a giveaway of your own to award a box of local treats to someone else.)

The Next Big Event: Victory Dinner

I've been on a winning streak lately! A lovely Cupcake Heaven book from Cupcake Crazy, a fantastic surprise parcel of Scottish Goodies from Tinned Tomatoes (more on this tomorrow) and last but not least, two tickets to an amazing wartime themed Victory Dinner from the fantastic company The Next Big Event.  The Next Big Event is a company ran by three lovely ladies who specialise in creating themed pop up restaurants such as Dinner by Twilight, The Last Supper and the Victory Dinner Party.  The best thing about these pop up events is all of the guests are placed on communal tables and encouraged to mingle.  What an excellent way to make new friends!

Myself and my date for the night, fellow Pet Lamb girlie Kay set off in our best 1940s themed dresses, seamed tights and attempted victory rolls in our hair. With bottles of fizzy in our bags and tummies ready for our very first taste of rabbit, we were ready for a night of classic, wartime music and lindyhopping fun!  And what a night we had!  Firstly we were seated next to two fellow North East bloggers Carla from Messy Carla and Rachel from Mon Polkadot Cheri who were just the sweetest buttons I've ever met.  The evening soon switched from people nervously chatting among their friends to laughing and smiling with folk they've only just met.  It's funny what a glass of champagne can do to a girl.

Before we even had a chance to pop the cork on our fizzy, our first course was served.  Broad bean bruschetta!  The dish had quite a distinctive taste with a delicious tang of lime which lingered in the mouth.  I'm a total sucker for bruschetta so I was sold on this from day one!

The main course, which was greatly anticipated by myself and my other diners, was rabbit in cider with summer veg.  I've never tasted rabbit before so I was really looking forward to this one.  The taste was a lot milder than expected, I assumed rabbit would have quite a strong gamey taste but, not to sound like a total cliche, it was rather similar to the dark meat on a chicken.  Success!  Now to try squirrel ;)

Now, we were all rather merry by the time the dessert rolled out so please forgive me when I say, I used my cameras flash.  How very naughty of me! I just couldn't trust myself to hold the thing steady in the low light after a bottle and a half of wine!  I'm sure you understand ;)  Normally, I hate trifle!!  I despise cold custard and just abhor the use of sponge with jelly.  It's my most loathed of sweets, but oddly enough I actually enjoyed this one.  Might have been the shocking amount of alcohol I put away but hey, it was the weekend!

After the meal was served and the guests were suitable squiffy, the dancing began.  At first we were treated to a lindyhop demonstration, fine by me, but then we were encouraged to get up and learn a few steps for ourselves.  Now, being the huge uncoordinated goof I am this wasn't the greatest half hour of my life, but by the end of the routine I had memorised enough for me to ever get by should a mass swing dancing session ever erupt in Newcastle!  Kay on the other hand had the whole thing aced, even dancing with the instructor.

As the night drew to a close, and our cabs arrived we hugged our new found friends and the lovely organisers good bye and went off on our merry way home.  Certainly not for more drinks! Oh no ;)

A huge thank you to the guys at The Next Big Event for the tickets and for throwing such a magical dinner party.  Here's to times to come!
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