Monthly Archives: January 2010

Grasshopper Cake

Im writing this having just heard that this cake was enjoyed by its recipients, a message ive been waiting for all weekend because this is the first cake I have ever been paid to make. People in my office are obviously aware I would rather be baking then sat in front of a computer and so at the end of last year I was asked if I could bake a cake for an 18th birthday. After the cake was chosen and made I waited, slightly nervous, to hear that it was good. Thankfully it was apparently great and I was so pleased because it makes me feel that maybe I can do this for a living. The cake comes from my favourite baking book of 2009, Baked: New Frontiers in Baking. Its a interesting recipe because it uses a frosting I had never heard of and hails from the depression era in America. You cook milk, cream, sugar and flour until thickened and then beat the butter into this (cooled down) mixture. It uses less sugar so isn’t as sweet but does use lots of butter. Its of course named after the Grasshoper cocktail but could just as easily be called the After Eight cake because its chocolate layers with a ganache filling and a peppermint buttercream. Because this wasnt baked for me or my family and friends I never got to try it but am reliably informed it went down a treat. Continue reading

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Martha Stewarts Double Crust Apple Pie

I am now completely sick of this weather. Sure the snow we had at Christmas was wonderfully festive and fun but its got colder and colder and it now takes me 3 times as long to get to work in the morning. Thankfully I have had no slips or trips and it seems to be getting better but as we were supposed to have family in from Canada this past weekend and I was in the mood for a comforting dessert we settled for a perfect, weather appropriate classic Apple Pie. Having actually never made pie before I turned to the queen of classic american baking Martha Stewart. I chose her Double-Crust Apple Pie from “Cooking School” which is a Pâte Brisée crust and almost a tree’s worth of apples baked with cinnamon and ginger. Predictably, due to the weather, my family were delayed and so never got to taste this which is a real shame because it was pretty great, although not without a few problems. My vent holes in the top were too big and looked a little unsightly after baking, my crimped edge didnt stay crimped, I forgot the butter in the apples and the pie was a little singed on the edge. In the end though the pie was actually really tasty and I was especially happy with the pastry and thankfully the mistakes I made are all easily overcome next time. Continue reading

Lemon Sabayon

There is some kind of irony that I was thinking about what to make for dessert whilst at the gym. I was working away on the exercise bike thinking about what I had in the house and what I could make when the idea of a lemon sabayon sprung to mind. I was wanting something tasty and flavourful but I didn’t want to buy anything and didn’t want anything too heavy. In my fridge I had 2 eggs and 1 lemon, and really not much else, but thankfully thats pretty much all you need. I have included some Cointreau as thats what I found in the back of the cupboard but if you had some limoncello on hand that would be excellent, or if you are avoiding alcohol then water can be substituted. I served this with some some raspberries and topped with toasted pine nuts and crumbled caramelised biscuit. Next time I might reduce the sugar a little as was maybe a tad too sweet Continue reading

Clementine Curd

Im currently writing this curled up, wrapped up and desperately trying to stay warm as it is currently -5c and our heating has broken. Not a great start to my day but on the upside, because the poor weather has caused traffic chaos, I have been told not to go into the office for the day, so silver linings and all that I guess. As the white weather has hung on now well beyond christmas I am trying to keep the festive feeling too and so on a bit of a whim decided to make a clementine curd. I was flipping through some food magazines when I came across this Jamie Oliver recipe which I quickly scribbled down before running for my train so hopefully I got it right. I have adapted the recipe slightly adding in some lime and reducing the lemon, also amending the method just a tiny bit. I have been enjoying the curd on my toast for breakfast over the past week and it is very good, not as tart or acidic as lemon curd. I could have cooked it a little longer as it was not as thick as I would have liked but its no big problem really. Continue reading

Winter Warmers

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and New Year and your sticking to any resolutions you may have set yourself. I dont really make them myself but I definitely have some aspirations, hopes and plans for the coming year and hopefully if I manage to make those happen I’ll share them here. One thing definitely happening include a trip to Paris in April which I am so looking forward to, Paris being one of my absolute favourite places, and hopefully i’ll make it to Barcelona as well in October. So Christmas and New Year are over as are the overeating and the overindulgence (thats the plan anyway) but with the weather being so cold at the moment salads are not exactly going to cut it. This season calls more for filling, warming soups and stews. But keeping in mind this is also the season of resolutions and weight loss I wanted to at least make an attempt at balancing these two concerns. Therefore I have two recipes today, an Apple and Parsnip Soup and my Hot Chocolate recipe. Both can be made relatively healthily but I urge you, in regards to the hot chocolate at least, to indulge and enjoy it as it meant to be, because really what’s life without some indulgences now and then. Continue reading