Blog Archives

Stollen

I’ve made various stollens over the years but always come back to this recipe as it’s the stollen I recognise. I spent some of my childhood growing up in Berlin and remember the Christmases there with fond memories. Nothing compares to their Weihnachtsmarkts of which there is over 50 spread all over the city. The smell of the glühwein, gingerbread, bratwurts and kartoffelpuffer intermingled with the crisp, cold winter air and, if you were lucky, the odd fleck of snow.

There are two ways of making stollen; with yeast or without yeast. This version doesn’t contain yeast and is the type I prefer. Read the rest of this entry

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Speculoos

I’ve always loved these biscuits be it when they are called speculoos, speculaas or spekulatius. They are dark, highly spiced biscuits with a caramalised sugar taste. Traditionally they are baked in some parts of the continent for St Nicholas Eve (5th December). St Nicholas Eve is the night where, as a child, you leave your shoes by the fireplace. If you’ve been good all year you’ll wake in the morning to find a shoefull sweet treats. If you’ve been less than angelic you’ll find some sticks.

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Red Velvet Cakes

Today Hubs leaves a company he’s been with since he graduated and is heading to the big smoke of Derby to be a big, bossy, managerial engineer kind of thing. His current workmates have been testers for my baking experiments over the years from the Beetle Cakes (that left some horrified) to not so successful bakes that, because they are blokes, were still politely inhaled.

As part of his leaving day I promised to bake anything they requested and that meant Red Velvet and Lardy Cake. Two bakes that I’ve never made, let alone tasted. While Red Velvet cake is a big trend at the moment it’s yet to hit the rolling hills of Derbyshire. The Lardy Cake disturbed me. During baking stage the lard, of which I hate the smell of in the first place, leeches out of the bread and essentially fries the bottom of the bread. Then when it’s cooling in the tin the bread soaks it back up again. Read the rest of this entry

Quick Cheese & Onion Rolls

As some of you know I teach cookery. In one of my roles I’m an Adult Education Tutor at evening classes of which I thoroughly enjoy. The women in one particular group have helped to shape what they would like to learn this term. They all mentioned how they wanted to master bread. Unfortunately in the 2 hour time frame it isn’t easy to make good bread from start to finish due to the rising time needed. So a few weeks ago we made Calzone as an introduction to yeasted bread making then this week we are making non-yeasted cheese & onion rolls to accompany the soup we are also making in class.

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Ribston Pippin Apple Pie

On Sunday it was the Calke Abbey Apple Day. We attended last year and knew we had to return for the apple sale. Many varieties of apples from the orchard were for sale at around £2 for 1kg bag. We raced the WI contingent for the quinces so we can make our annual batch of quince jelly. We got there only 15 min after it opened and they were already running low on quinces.

Along with the quinces we bought a bag of Ribston Pippin as they are both a eating and culinary apple and were popular in the Victorian times due to its aromatic nature. It’s thought to be the parent of the more commonly known Cox Orange Pippin. The perfect choice for an autumnal apple pie. Read the rest of this entry

Village Show Debut

We may be country bumpkins but there is one part of village life we have never taken part in. The highly competitive Village Show. Other countries have fiestas, we have giant vegetables and most handsome bull competitions that celebrate the great and slightly eccentric aspects of living in the great British countryside. There is no village show where we live so we decided to gate crash the show that was held at Calke Abbey. Read the rest of this entry

The cake decorating road test

Immy & Cam are the voice here when it comes to road testing products that are geared towards the kids market. On the same day we made My Daddy Cooks Sloppy Joes and Chocolate Salami we made some basic fairy cakes and spent an afternoon decorating them using products I had been sent to trial. The ingredients that passed the test went on to be used by pupils in my cookery school over the summer. Read the rest of this entry

Writing for Marks & Sparks

Back in May I was asked to take part in top-secret mission. It meant I was going to work with an iconic British brand, spend some time researching a topic, write an article, develop a special recipe…and get paid for it. Fast forward a few months and Marks & Spencer have recently launched a social space called M&S Stories where customers can read about new ranges as well as insider tips & tricks. Now it has been launched I can say I was asked to be involved as a guest writer. First thing friends & family asked when they heard my news? Can you get me some free Percy Pigs? Ah, nope. I get first dibs. Read the rest of this entry

Why Golden Syrup is so good for you – Brandy Snaps

According to the Tate & Lyle Golden Cookery Book,  circa early 1960’s, I picked up on holiday Golden Syrup is really rather good for you.

Golden Syrup isn’t just one sugar – it’s three: sucrose, glucose and fructose. So it gives you triple-sugar-energy. One reason why Golden Syrup is so good for children is that it stops them getting overtired and fretful. Give your children plenty of Golden Syrup. Give it to them often – The Golden Cookery Book Read the rest of this entry

Baked Jam Doughnuts

Next week I’m running a week-long Cookery School for 6-11 year olds and for the last week I’ve been busy finalising arrangements and testing recipes. Each day is themed and one of the days is America. We couldn’t do an American themed day without making doughnuts and the fact I have a slight fear of frying, especially around children, this had to be a baked recipe. You can buy doughnut tins but part of my business ethos is about making cookery accessible for all. Having to buy a special tin doesn’t make it accessible. Read the rest of this entry

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