Monthly Archives: March 2010

London Foodie Weekend

I have just returned from a wonderful food filled weekend in London. I was staying with my brother and we went for pizza at Franco Manca, for soup and sweets things at Ottolenghi, lots of chocolate at the Southbank Chocolate Festival, Dinner at the Cinnamon Club, and afternoon tea at Bea’s of Bloomsbury. I was actually in London for two reasons. Firstly my brother graduated from Birkbeck College with a Masters in Global Politics (yep pretty serious and heavy stuff) so my parents and I were down to go to the ceremony. The second reason is a bit more relevant here as I was attending an audition. Continue reading

Hot Cross Buns

Easter is just around the corner so I thought it was the perfect time to try my hand at Hot Cross Buns. Traditionally baked for Good Friday as part of Easter celebrations they are now available to buy over a much wider time period. Interestingly, to me at least, food writer Elizabeth Day explains that whilst the buns are now known for there link to Christianity that was not always the case and actually they have their origins in paganism where they represented the moon and its four quarters. The reason they are only available around Easter? Queen Elizabeth I passed a law restricting their consumption to the religious holidays.  Wikipedia explains that Queen Elizabeth wanted an outright ban because they were seen as a hold-over of catholic belief but they were so popular they could only restrict there consumption. I have always loved them and actually quite like the fact they are not available all year round, it makes them that bit more special. I was brought up in a Christian household and my parents are fairly traditional so we were always served these on Good Friday and aside from the Easter eggs these were my favourite part of the holiday. This was the first time that I have actually had a homemade version and even though they are far from the prettiest version, they still tasted pretty good. For my recipe I turned to one of my most reliable baking sources, Dan Lepard. Continue reading

Ginger Brulee Tarts

Hi my name is Edd and im an addict. I have very rarely spoken about my problem here but I think its time to share. I have an addiction to…cookbooks. I finally thought i’d managed to kick the habit but along comes another book that peaks my interest and somehow just ends up in my collection. Thankfully the only people my habit hurts are my bank manager and me. I had decided not to buy anymore books for a while, lord knows I have enough recipes keep me going for plenty of time, but when I saw the new book “Bourke Street Bakery” it just jumped out at me. Its a wonderful book two thirds of which is dedicated to breads and pastries and the other third is centered around the sweeter side of things. There is a very generous section on sourdoughs from the basics to delicious sounding anise and fruit sourdough and even an apple and oat sourdough. The other bread sections cover yeasted and olive oil breads. The pastry section runs the gamut from the traditional croissants and danishes through to interesting sausage rolls and pies such as lamb, harissa, and almond sausage rolls, which are definitely being added to my cook list. There is also a great selection of cakes and desserts but for the purposes of todays post I chose something from the tarts section. There are 12 different individual sweet tart recipes but I chose the Ginger Brulee Tarts with cardamom and cinnamon. Continue reading

Mint Chocolate Macarons

I have an admission to make, I completely forgot about Mactweets this month so these were made pretty last minute. Unfortunately this means I didnt get too long to plan or even think about my flavour for this months theme – “Spring Fling: Be inspired by your favorite spring flowers”. Technically my flavour doesn’t really fit the theme as mint is not a flower, it is a plant though and the green reminds me of the fresh green colour of grass and maybe the dusted brown can represent the mud. Okay I might be, absolutely am stretching here but heres my post anyway. Continue reading

Milk Bar Blueberries and Cream Cookies + an adaption

A short while back Adam over at amateurgourmet.com posted the recipe for Momofuku Milk Bar’s Compost Cookie which reminded me that I had been meaning to make another recipe from among the small handful of Milk Bar’s publicly available recipes. As of yet the guys over at the mini empire of Momofuku in NYC have only published a handful of their sweet recipes. There are a few in the book but nothing from Milk Bar itself, there are also those that have been featured on Martha Stewart, the recipe for the fawned over Crack Pie recently published in the LA Times, and most recently Regis and Kelly featured the Compost Cookies mentioned above (oops sorry for all the links). The good news for fellow fans of their baked treats is that a cookbook is currently in the works, written by Christina Tosi the Milk Bar pastry chef, supposedly due for publication in…autumn 2011, yeah way too far away for my liking too. So until the book is published i’ll have to be satisfied with playing around with the available recipes and if they turn out like these did, i’ll be one very happy baker. Continue reading

Coconut Ice

What do you do when you have bought the wrong sort of coconut for a birthday cake? You make that old school favourite coconut ice of course. Normally it is just a mixture of desiccated coconut, condensed milk, icing sugar and a bit of food colouring, and yes it is good but we can do better than just good cant we? I was looking through some cookbooks when I spotted this recipe in, the so far underused, “Nutmeg and Custard” by Marcus Wareing. Along with the usual suspects Wareing’s recipe also includes white chocolate and raspberry jam, now doesn’t that sound even better the original? Yes its sweet, yes its not exactly healthy but sometimes you just need a little treat but beware these are quite addictive, you may want others around to prevent you eating the lot. Making this recipe wasn’t without incident though. My mixture seemed stuck at a certain temperature and no matter how long I continued to cook it just wouldn’t  get to the soft ball stage. When I eventually gave up and poured out the mixture I found a nice layer of burnt sugar which I guess should teach me that cheap cookware really isn’t great for candy making. Continue reading

Coconut Cake

Can you guess who makes the birthday cakes around here? Yep you guessed right, me, and I love to make them. I really enjoy the challenge of a layer cake so always jump at the opportunity when asked. My older brother had his birthday this past weekend and so I obviously asked him what he wanted. He was very helpful and said anything but chocolate. That might seem easy and straight forwad but if you knew my brother you know he is actually a pretty picky eater. After finally establishing that he liked coconut I chose this cake, once again, from “Sky High Cakes” and thankfully it was another excellent cake from that book. The cake layers are made with the fat/flour method and include coconut milk giving them a mild coconut flavour and a really nice compact crumb (which made for easy cutting). The frosting was also quite different in method as its a cream cheese buttercream where a standard cream cheese frosting is mixed into an italian meringue. The frosting is so soft and silky yet isnt too sweet. The cake went down a treat but sadly I only got once slice before my brother rushed the rest home. Kind of coincidentally I woke up on sunday to frost the cake and woke to up to a thick blanket of snow so had a white scene to match the white snow like cake. Continue reading