Tag Archives: ed

PB&J Bars

I know I know I have been terrible with the blog recently, embarrassingly I haven’t given you a new recipe since back in November, ill go and hang my head in shame shall I? As im sure you can guess ive been pretty busy the last few months. In the last week I moved house and now live in London. Im staying with a friend for a few weeks while I look for my first apartment and my first ever kitchen of my own, I cant wait to get it all set up and ready to go. Anyway now im getting back into the swing of things I thought I would share a new recipe of mine. It was inspired by watching some American comedy and they were making peanut butter and jelly sandwhiches and whilst im a big fan of both jam and peanut butter I had never had together in a sandwhich. And no dont worry the recipe isnt for a sandwhich but and PB&J shortbread bar. Its so easy but also delicious.

PB+J Shortbread Bars

450g Plain Flour

300g Unsalted Butter

150g Caster Sugar

1/4 tsp salt

150g smooth peanut butter

250g jam (choice up to you)

1. Press a piece of foil into the base and up the sides of a 9×13 baking pan. Preheat the oven to 350F/175C.

2. Place the flour, butter, sugar and salt into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade and pulse until the ingredients form a dough.

3. Tip the dough out onto the worksurface and lightly knead until it becomes uniform. Remove a third of the dough and wrap it in clingfilm and refrigerate until needed. Press the remaining dough evenly into the prepared pan. Bake for 25-30 mins or until lightly golden around the edges. leave to cool for 20 mins.

4. Spread the peanut butter evenly on the cooled base then repeat with the jam. Remove the third of dough from the fridge and crumble into pieces and scatter evenly over the jam. Bake for a further 25-30 mins or until the crumbled dough starts to colour a little bit. Cool completely before cutting into 12 large squares.

2010 Roundup

Its fair to say 2010 has been one amazing year. I started off working as a litigation clerk for a bank, a job I really didnt enjoy, and ended up the year by basically becoming self employed about to embark on some massive changes. You could say that my life has turned upside down. I, slightly reluctantly, entered The Great British Bake Off and beyond all my expectations I only went and won! Along the way there was of course a lot of baking, many cookbooks bought (a practice I have had to stop, cant justify cookbooks with no income!) and a holiday to Paris. Since ive been too busy to blog the way I would like I thought I would do a roundup of my favourite recipes, cookbooks etc of the year. Continue reading

My Week at Le Manoir

Well what a week this has been, and rather apt too it being National Baking Week and all. I spent the week at Le Manoir, Raymond Blanc’s two Michelin starred restaurant in Oxfordshire, baking in the pastry kitchen. The first thing you should know about the restaurant is that it is beautiful, probably the most attractive setting for a restaurant I have seen in this country. It is set in a beautiful building surround by large perfectly managed gardens, including a large vegetable garden. I have to admit that the first day or so were fairly nervous for me. This was the first professional kitchen I have ever worked in and I guess I just felt a little out of place. This was also whilst I was working in the service side of the kitchen. The pastry kitchen doesn’t just serve the restaurant it also makes things for the hotels breakfast and afternoon tea as well as all the bread for the whole operation. The service side of the pastry kitchen deals with the restaurants desserts and because there is a very fast turnaround it gets very busy during service and a little stressed meaning I sometimes felt a little lost with everyone running around me.

I started the week making ice cream and sorbet bases including a wonderful pear and anise sorbet. Because a lot of this kitchen is prep work before service I peeled a lot of apples and segmented loads of grapefruit, which according to Monsieur Blanc I wasn’t doing as perfectly as I should have been. He actually seems like a very nice guy and came across very well the two times I met him. The second section I worked in is called the tour kitchen and is responsible for all the breads, cakes, and afternoon tea. I loved working this section, I got to make so any different things from start to finish including large batches of their famous lemon cake, huge batches of bread, masses of petit four and many many other things. I was so impressed with the output of the kitchen. The desserts look completely stunning and everything I tried was great. The breads were also amazing, I especially loved the sourdough. The chefs were all very welcoming and gracious with there knowledge and helped make the experience as inspiring as it was. I came away tired (12 hour shifts starting at 5.30 will do that to you) but with loads of ideas.

Whoopie Pies and a Giveaway

I have never been a fan of whoopie pies I think its because of the whole “next big thing” label that seems to surround them. Everyone seems to be saying that they will be the next cupcake but I really doubt it. Why am I posting a recipe for them then? Well I was asked to do a baking demonstration at a charity even this weekend and I wanted something easy and quick so thought I would give them a whirl, and do you know what? They were pretty good. The event was The Great Brownie Bake Off organised by Louise Thomas the Chocolate Consultant and was to raise money for the charity Wheels For Wellbeing. Twenty-two home bakers who thought they had a great brownie submitted samples and a panel of judges including Paul A Young and Abigail Phillips of The Cake Nest (who will be using the winning recipe for a year in her business) sampled each one looking for the best. During the day, whilst the judging was happening there were demos by a really great group of people

Stacie Stewart the Masterchef finalist, Fred Ponnavoy the head chef at GU Chocolate Puds, Caroline Aherne of Sugargrain Bakery and Sasha Jenner of Hobbs House Bakery. The day was a great success and whilst I was a little nervous doing my first live demo the whole experience was a lot of fun. Continue reading

Update

Since the show finished I have been so busy, my feet have barely touched the ground, it has been such an exciting and fun time. I spent all wednesday the day after the final ensconced at the BBC doing about 20 interviews which was weird and amazing at the same time, especially doing BBC Breakfast. Want to know something secret about Breakfast? The “Green Room” is actually red (yeah that was a lame secret) Continue reading

The Great British Bake Off

So the secret is finally out, I won The Great British Bake Off and it has been the most amazing past couple of days. I wanted to write a short post to say thank you for all the emails and support I have received over the last six weeks as the show has aired and especially over the last two days as the result was finally revealed. I have had to keep it a secret for so long that it was such a weight off my shoulders to finally be able to shout it from the rooftops. When I was watching the show even I felt nervous, actually I felt sick to my stomach. As I was watching I started noticing emails coming in and over the last 24 hours I have actually received so many it’s been so hard to keep up (most were just Twitter so didn’t need responding). Today my feet have barely touched the ground I started the day at 6.30am and was on way to the BBC for 7am where I had interviews with Gaby Roslin on Radio London, Chris Evans on Radio 2 then amazingly I even did a live tv interview on BBC Breakfast which turned out to be much less daunting then I expected. In total I think I did around 20 different interviews. Even though it was tiring it was amazing and fascinating and I still can’t quite believe it’s happening to me.

Continue reading

Chocolate Peanut Crinkles

Super simple but impressive cookie recipe today. These are not traditional cookies, they dont have the same texture, they are actually nearer brownies, although not gooey in the same way. The impressive thing about these is that they are rolled in icing sugar so that when they are baked they crackle and reveal the chocolate cookie beneath. The recipe makes loads, I got 45 from the cookie dough, thankfully they were baked as a favour for an event so they didnt go to waste. The recipe comes from the new book by the White House pastry chef Bill Yosses, The Perfect Finish. The book has some wonderful sounding recipes from a Chocolate and Salted Caramel Tart to Chocolate Chip Cookies with Nutella, I cant wait to try some more. Continue reading