Monday, 28 November 2011

Food Bloggers Unplugged

 I've seen a few other bloggers posting these pieces so I'm really happy to have been tagged in one so it's my turn! I love posts like these so you can find more out about our fellow bloggers as it can be hard to know much about the person behind the blog. I like to share a lot in my posts but this should give you a bit more insight into me :)
1. What, or who inspired you to start a blog?

I first started a blog a couple of years ago as I had finished uni as a magazine journalist and was using it as a platform to showcase my writting..although I soon realised I was posting more about baking that writing! I accidentally deleted my whole blog at one point and was unable to retrieve it so I had to create another one, so I made it all about baking!

2. Who is your foodie inspiration?

I love Peggy Porschen, everything from that bakery looks amazing and I do try to re-create it at home but not quite up to their standards! I love good proper home baking and love trawling through my Norwegian nan's cookbooks and scribbling down recipes whenever I have a chance to raid them. I love a lot of Norwegian cooking and baking and am making it my mission to learn the foodie traditions...of which there are many! especially at Christmas so I will be doing lots of posts on various Christmas cooking and baking.

3. Your greasiest, batter - splattered food/drink book is?

The Dairy Cookbook, my nan in Southampton gave us this book and we've used it well. It's great for good normal recipes and I use it all of the time for sponge mixes and sauces. It is fairly splattered and tatty on a lot of pages, I've used it so much my mum has bought me my own copy to use and abuse.

4. Tell us all about the best thing you have ever eaten in another country, where was it, what was it?

Oh God I actually have no idea obviously I love the food in Norway and could easily spend all of my time eating salmon, Norwegian meatball and waffles. Sometimes we just had the urge to have a Norwegian evening and have a waffle making session.  Christmas food again is something I could eat in Norway all the time, they do some amazing sausages and a bit portion of their Christmas dinner is meat...we always celebrate the Christmas Eve like they do so we get the best of both countries...can't wait!

5. Another food bloggers table you'd like to eat at is?

I follow mainly bloggers rather than if I was popping over for a slice of cake then I think it would have to be The Caked Crusader's...everything she makes is gold!

6. What is the one kitchen gadget you would ask Santa for this year (money no object of course)?

Well it used to be a stand mixer...but I'm getting one! yay :D But I would really love a few more posh mixing bowls...I just can't get enough. Actually I still really want the rolling pin that prints 'made in England' onto pastry.

7. Who taught you how to cook?

I've always cooked a lot with my family there were quite a few times at University I'd have to call my mum to ask her how to do something right there and then as I was halfway through making it and forgot I didn't know how to do it! I'm still stealing her knowledge now when she makes something old-school I have to document it. My dad is also really good at cakes and always did our celebration cakes when we were younger so stole quite a few tips and ideas from him and often get him to help me when I'm down there.

8. I'm coming to you for dinner what's your signature dish?

One thing I can actually cook really well is a roast chicken salad dish, Jamie Olive one. It is AMAZING! With roasted cherry tomatoes and garlic, green beans, mint, parsley and lemon. I got so obsessed with it I had it four days on the trot...

9. What is your guilty food pleasure? 

Anything seriously unhealthy...I try to be good to balance out all of the sweets...but sometimes I can't resist the call of the evil takeaways....Also crisps...I could literally eat them ALL DAY LONG!

10. Reveal something about yourself that others would be surprised to learn?

I don't actually like cake THAT much. Don't get me wrong if I go to a nice coffee shop etc then I love a little slice. But if I was going to make something sweet for myself it wouldn't be sponge. I make so much of it for other people I can't get too excited about it unless it's something really special. I think I'd rather have a sausage roll over something sweet any day, I need to do more savoury baking really don't I? :)

Finally...tag 5 other food bloggers with these a hot baked potato...pass it on!

4.Tora from Food Times

If you have been tagged, please link up your entry here and if you tweet, use #foodbloggersunplugged on twitter. 


Pin It Now!

Saturday, 26 November 2011

La Hogue Farm Shop - The Hunt For Norwegian Christmas Rib!

The time has come to get food sorted for Christmas, the most difficult to find is the correct cut of pork for our Christmas Eve dinner. As some of you know I'm half Norwegian and lived there for a few years, and since we moved back here we've not been able to get the cut of pork right. It's called belly of pork here, in Norway we just call it the rib (flat rib) and no butcher we've seen before has given us the right thing, always masses of actual belly pork and sometimes not even with the bones in (which is quite important!) So this year I made it my mission to find a good butcher....I did Google for a while for good local farm shops and La Hogue Farm Shop & Cafe just outside Newmarket popped up again and again. It was 30 miles away...which may not be super local but I think when you find a good shop it's worth the travel.

I've been pestering the poor people at La Hogue for at least a month which pictures and questions from Norwegian cookbooks to see if they knew what we were looking for. In the end we thought it would be easier if we popped in to speak to the butcher with the book. The most experienced butcher was going to be in today so we thought this would be the day to go.

As soon as the butcher saw the book and heard us say 'rib', he knew straight away we were the crazy women emailing him about the pork, which he found quite hilarious. He was certain he knew exactly what the cut was and that it was common, and to prove this he even made us go in the back...which instantly I knew would be interesting as my mum can't stand seeing big sides of animals hanging in butchers shops! And this is what she had to go and look at bless her! I thought it was great, and he did know exactly what we wanted, there was one already hanging up waiting!

He just slapped it down with love and cut it up and scored it exactly how it needed to be, amazing, and even cut off the excess bits we didn't need. I also have to say he is probably the funniest butcher I've met and probably the nicest - full of banter, he could have easily have sold us the whole shop! We also needed some minced pork for our special Christmas meatballs so he minced us some fresh which was nice. It was also a lot cheaper than when we got it last year from the butcher in our town so that was a big bonus.

Take a moment to the read the signs on the counter...made me smile and shows you just the kind of people they are, love it.

We couldn't then resist a look around the rest of the shop, we're making some hampers as Christmas presents this year so we stocked up on a few items that you can't get in the local shop. There's so much variety, vegetables, cheeses (drool), wines and beers, sweets, cakes...the list just goes on really. A lot of their own items have quirky names too like Rudolph's Relish, Medieval Mustard and Santa's Special Chutney.

I love how everything was displayed so nicely, it did actually feel like a farm shop rather than just a supermarket. Everything was so neat and easily accessible. They even had huge roulades that Mary Berry would be envious of!

They even had a lovely cafe, you really didn't expect it to be big but it was massive when you think about how big a normal cafe is on its own. They stocked an impressive amount of homemade cakes and treats, I had to take a picture because I was so impressed, there's even more about the corner you can't see. My mum had carrot cake (it even had green glitter on!) and I had millionaire shortbread with crazy thick layers :).

I wish we hadn't had a big breakfast as the food looked amazing, it filled up pretty quick and the food was flying out, they're the sort of place that serves proper jacket know what I mean....cooked in the proper oven and super crispy skin.

I also have to mention their Christmas Barn, filled with little gifts and lots of Christmas decorations. They really had a theme going with the 'homemade cottage' style of decorations, lots of gingham and ribbons - my favourite. They're not that expensive either and great to get in the festive spirit with!

I'm so glad we've finally found a lovely farm shop that can keep us in Norwegian Christmas rib every year and any other little treats we fancy getting, I really want to try some of their fruity wines, I'm sure there was a sparkling blackcurrant one that looked really needless to say we will definitely be taking another trip before the year is up. They do have a candlelit Christmas market next weekend but I'm away in Southampton, but if you're in the area I would highly recommend a cheeky trip you won't be disappointed. Pin It Now!

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Gingernuts - Old School Post Of The Month

OK I know I'm bad, I said I would do this post every month and I haven't for a couple...but it's back! And just in time for the end of the month so I can do another next month, and as it's Christmas I have loooooads of classic family bakes I'll be knocking up.

I'm not a massive biscuit eater, don't get me wrong I love them, but would rather have a slice of cake - although one biscuit that I do genuinely love is a gingernut. Apparently I was given quite a few when I was it stands to reason I still love them :)

Also as I KEEP mentioning it's coming up to Christmas, and I absolutely love getting the festive spices out to use in baking which I don't do too much in other seasons, and my favourites are definitely ginger, cinnamon and cloves so I'll try to get more baking in that uses these. I will be making gingerbread houses over the next month so I literally cannot wait for the house to be full of the smell of Christmas!

Back to the recipe, I have to say I only made them last night and quite a few have disappeared already, I just love them. They also keep for quite a while in an air-tight container and I love that they got the crackle effect on the top which is like the gingernut trademark, I don't know why but I always feel surprised when my bakes turn out how I want them to...I also got to give my new Mason Cash mixing bowl it's first use so yay :)

  • 350g self raising flour
  • 1 tbs ground ginger (I used nearly 2 as I didn't have any stem ginger in the house)
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 200g caster sugar (I used Tate & Lyle soft brown sugar as I though it would go with the recipe better)
  • 115g unsalted butter
  • 85g golden syrup
  • 1 medium free range egg, beaten
  • 35g (2 pieces) stem ginger, drained and finely chopped

  1. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees celcius/325 f/gas 3
  2. Sift the flour, ground ginger, bicarbonate of soda into a mixing bowl. Gently melt the butter with the syrup in a pan over a low heat and set aside until barely warm.
  3. Pour this mixture into the mixing bowl, add the beaten egg and the stem ginger and mix with a wooden spoon.
  4. When thoroughly combined, roll the mixture into 24 walnut balls using your hands. (Mine made 30 and I would squash them down a bit, I found mine weren't as flat as I would have liked.)
  5. Arrange on three buttered baking trays evenly spaced allowing them to spread.
  6. Bake for 15-20 minutes (I did 20), until a golden brown. You may need to turn the baking trays halfway through.
  7. Leave the biscuits to cool for a couple of minutes on the trays before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.
  8. Eat! Nom!
Pin It Now!

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Double Chocolate Cheesecake

I promised you this recipe a couple of weeks ago and I shall deliver! My brother actually made this for me for my birthday. As you can imagine I make A LOT of sponge, so when it came to my birthday it was really the last thing I wanted to eat, so I asked for a cheesecake! And I have to say without a doubt this is the best cheesecake I have ever eaten. Definite Nom!

I love cheesecake - a ridiculous amount and if it wasn't so calorific I would eat it everyday without question. So words cannot explain how happy I was to get this on my birthday, I cut myself a mahoosive piece and another one later in the evening and it wasn't too long until we had demolished it, I don't think it survived the week.

He got the recipe from BBC Good Food an adapted it a little so I'll mention where and what he swapped.



  • 85g hot melted butter , plus a little extra for greasing
  • 14 plain chocolate digestives, finely crushed (he used half Bourbon biscuits)


  • 3 x 300g packs full-fat Philadelphia cheese , at room temperature (changed for one third mascapone and two thirds cream cheese)
  • 200g golden caster sugar
  • 4 tbsp cocoa , sifted
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp Tia Maria (changed for a shot of espresso -which I thought I'd hate but loved as didn't get just pure coffee through)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 284ml pot soured cream (didn't include)
  • 100g bar dark coffee chocolate , melted (changed for Green & Blacks milk chocolate)
  • 2-3 tbsp milk
  • 284ml pot double cream
  • chocolate curls to decorate (optional, see Tip below) 


  1. Heat oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Line the base of a 25cm springform tin with baking parchment. Mix the melted butter and biscuit crumbs until well blended, then press firmly onto the base of the tin. Bake for 10 mins.
  2. Turn oven temperature up to 240C/fan 220C/gas 9. Beat the cream cheese and sugar with an electric whisk until smooth and creamy, then whisk in the cocoa, vanilla, Tia Maria, eggs, soured cream and half the melted chocolate. Stir enough milk into the remaining chocolate to make a sauce consistency, then set aside until ready to decorate the cheesecake.
  3. Put a little melted butter on some kitchen paper and use it to butter the sides of the cake tin. Pour in the cheese mixture, then smooth the top. Bake for 10 mins, then turn the heat down to 110C/fan 90C/gas ¼ for 25-30 mins. The filling should be set, but with a wobble in the centre. Turn off the oven, open the door a crack, then leave the cheesecake to cool in the oven for 2 hrs. Chill until ready to serve.
  4. To decorate the cheesecake, carefully remove it from the tin and strip the lining paper from the base. Lightly whip the cream until it just holds its shape, then swirl it on top and drizzle with the reserved chocolate sauce, rippling the sauce through the cream with the end of a spoon. Serve as is or pile with chocolate curls, if you've made them. 
  5. Eat! Nom!

Pin It Now!

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Sweet And Salty Chocolate Cake

As you know it was my birthday earlier last week and I had a full on baking session the day before. People at work are pretty serious about birthday baking so I had to up my game. I've spent the best part of the last six weeks baking for others, I never go to have any of it so I though I'd go all out with treats I could get to try myself rather than giving them away :)

I recently got the latest Hummingbird Bakery book, 'Cake Days', I've wanted one of their books for ages so was so excited when I first got my hands on it. I've gone through this book a million times now, and this recipe always stuck out and I knew it was something I just had to bake, it was going to be amazing too, you just know don't you?

So this, their sweet and salty chocolate cake is probably the most beautiful chocolate cake I have ever made. It's a bit of a giant too, made up for three layers, though I only managed to fit two inside my cake carrier so kept and iced the last one for home, which my family loved so that worked out well.
Mine's a bit on the wonk here as I had so many to take in got a bit shuffled around, I also should have put it on a nice plate first really for the picture shouldn't I? whoops :)

It does take quite a bit of time to make so you do need to dedicate an afternoon to it, but trust me people it is so worth it. I would also like to say you do need cutlery to eat this one, it's definitely not just a 'grab a piece' cake. I have to warn you though, the caramel is so good you might have to hide it until you use it as it is easily the yummiest caramel I have ever tasted and you will be tempted to just drink it! Sorry about the ugly picture below but I had to show you how thick the frosting was, you can see knife marks!

This recipe says you need three 8inch loose bottomed sandwich tins, I don't know about you but I certainly don't have three actual tins the same size? So I used three of the cake tins that you get in a set of two from the shop, and used three of the smaller sized one. As you probably know if you're a regular reader...I have a tin obsession so this was the only way I can ever make three the same size! This is also probably why mine came out so tall, the tins should have been a big bigger.


For the sponge:
  • 300g unsalted butter, softened.
  • 300g caster sugar
  • 140g soft light brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 100g cocoa powder (I used Green & Blacks)
  • 160ml buttermilk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 330g plain flour
  • 2tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2tsp salt
For the salty caramel:
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 2tbsp golden syrup
  • 120ml double cream
  • 60m soured cream
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
For the frosting:
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 2tbsp golden syrup
  • 360ml double cream
  • 450g dark chocolate, chopped, 70% minimum cocoa solids plus extra to decorate
  • 450g unsalted butter, softened
  • Sea salt flakes, for sprinkling

1. First make the salty caramel. In a small saucepan bring the sugar and golden syrup to the boil with 60ml water, allowing the mixture to boil for about 10 minutes, during which time it should become quite syrupy and a rich caramel colour.

2. Put the double cream, soured cream and salt into a separate pan and bring to the boil, then remove from the heat. The salt should completely dissolve into the cream.

3. When the sugar syrup is ready, remove it from the heat and carefully add the hot cream. It will bubble up as you pour in the cream, but smooth out again quickly after that, becoming a creamier golden colour. Pour the caramel into a small bowl and set it aside to cool while you make the frosting.

4. In a small, clean saucepan, bring the caster sugar and golden syrup to the boil with 60ml water, again letting this boil for about 10 minutes or until it is syrupy and caramel coloured.

5. In a separate pan, bring the double cream to the boil.  Carefully pour the hot cream into the caramel; as before, it will bubble up but settle down again shortly afterwards. Set this caramel aside to cool slightly (Don't eat it! :) )

6. Once it has cooled, add the chopped chocolate, stirring constantly while the chocolate melts (don't worry it definitely will). Using a hand-held mixer, mix the frosting for about 10 minutes or until the bottom of the bowl feels cold.

7. Add the butter to the chocolate caramel frosting and whisk together until the mixture is light and looks slightly whipped. Place the frosting in the fridge to cook and set for 40-50 minutes while you make the sponge.

8. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees celcius, gas mark 3, and line the tins.

9. Using a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment, or a hand-held one, cream together the butter and both types of sugars until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl.

10. In a jug stir together the cocoa powder, buttermilk and vanilla with 60ml of water to form a thick paste. Sift together the remaining sponge indredients, then add these in stages to the creamed butter and sugar, alternating with the cocoa powder paste and mixing thoroughly on a low-to-medium speed until all the ingredients are incorporated.

11. Divide the batter between the three tins and bake for approximately 25 minutes or until the top of each sponge feels springy to the touch. allow the sponges to cool slightly in their tins before turning out on to a wire rack and cooling completely before assembling.

13. Once the sponges feel cold to the touch, place one on a plate or cake board and top with approximately 2 tablespoons of the salty caramel, smoothing it over the sponge with a palette knife. Top the caramel layer with 3-4 tablespoons of the frosting and smooth it out as before.

14. Continue this process, sandwiching together the other two sponges with the remaining salty caramel and a layer of frosting and leaving enough frosting to cover the sides and the top of the cake. To finish decorate with some shaved/chopped chocolate and a light sprinkle of the sea salt flakes...although this isn't easy to get on the sides, so you kind of have to throw the chocolate/salt at the sides!

15. Eat! Nom! Pin It Now!

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

60th Birthday Giant Golfing Cupcake

Hello again!

I'm hoping this post uploads correctly, I was really disappointed that my Choccywoccydoodah post only uploaded the first two paragraphs and picture when I'd actually done a big post, it's up and running now though so if you saw it when it was tiny please check it out now it's up in all its glory.

So anyway for the latest cake, it's not often I get asked to do cakes for men so it can be a good time to try out some new techniques and get me out of my comfort zone.

This cake was from word of mouth which is really nice, for a gentleman turning 60 and they wanted to get him a giant cupcake which I thought was really sweet. It can be hard to get them to not look too feminine as they are in the cutest form of cake, but I think I managed it :)

He loves golf so I thought this theme could be done really well. I'd seen a few ideas on the internet and had a good idea of what would look great. I though I'd make it a whole golfing green! This would be hard as my usual favourite rose swirl icing wouldn't really be suitable to look like grass so I had to pipe it with a normal star nozzle all over, I was worried this could look a bit messy but actually it looked really effective.

To get the green as bright as I have I used a good dollop of Mint Green Sugarflair colouring paste, have faith it will go brighter and I find it does colour up a little bit after it's mixed but that might just be me. I used the same colour in some fondant to get the smooth part of the grass.

For the flag I used one of the cake pop sticks I had and made the actual flag out of red gum paste so it looked like it was flapping in the wind. I also made a little golf ball ready to be putted in (is that the right terminology? Not sure!!) .

I wanted the bottom to look like a sand bunker so made it a dark sand/light brown colour by mixing Sugarflair Dark Brown and Melon Yellow. I tied a thin red ribbon around the bottom to match the flag and is a bit more manly than my usual pink one :).

To really finish it off I made a '60' for the smooth bit of green in fondant with Christmas Red colouring paste . I made it in a curly style again as the 50th wedding anniversary giant cupcake as I loved how it looked, the chunky number cutters can be a bit over powering for smaller cakes like these. I think this is around my 23rd giant cupcake of the year, roughly. I think I could make a blog dedicated entirely to the little gems I love them!

As I've got a bit of a cake break coming up, eg. no order in the next week or so I can do some proper blogging about all the cakes I made for my birthday that I promised to put up. I'll try to get them up over the next week. Pin It Now!

Monday, 14 November 2011

Choccywoccydoodah! Chocolate Lover's Dream! - Updated!

So as you saw I was in Brighton last weekend, and I went to Choccywoccydoodah and thought it did really need its own post as I was like a crazy person and took about a million pictures.

After watching their TV show about the cake shop I've always wanted to take a trip to Brighton, chocolate and cake who can ask for more? If you watch the show you'll know that all they decorate their cakes with it chocolate, pure Belgian beautiful chocolate, no icing whatsoever!

The shop looks so magical on screen and it certainly didn't disappoint! The shops is pretty small so it was full of hustle and bustle. One of the biggest draws to the shop are the window displays. I was hoping their Christmas display was up but as it was just a few days after Halloween it hadn't changed yet. But actually I didn't mind as it beautifully dark! The main feature was of a vampire biting a beautiful woman's neck, they also had a giant haunted house in the corner and witches brains chocolates.

I was really tempted to buy a cake, of course! But the cheapest one was £35 and pretty small but still beautiful. Which would have been fine if I had a big party or something, but as I didn't I thought it was a bit much to eat of my own. I do however really want one of their iconic giant chocolate skulls one day, they often feature these on their gigantic cakes and look so realistic but still oddly appetizing! 

They had some amazing display cakes in the shop, I went a bit paparazzi on them so I'm glad the staff didn't mind! I love all of the glittery roses they use on a lot of their cakes and hunted for ages for something glittery and affordable but they had all sold out!

A lot of their cakes had a bit of a dark and quirky look, which I think I love just as much as the pretty flowers! I've been researching some tutorials for making modeling chocolate as I really want to have a go myself. I want to be a chocolatier! It'd make a great addition to my little cakes I think :)

I was really hoping to see some of the people from the shop, I did manage to see the lastest member of staff that had just joined in the last series, and he helped me look for a treat so that was a little bonus. As for treats there are loads of little bits you could buy as a gift for someone. Ladies heels, mens brogue shoes, giant pouting lips lollipops, heart lollipops, logo lollipop and even some naughty shaped treats under the counter...I'll leave this up to your imagination!

After searching and deciding for a long time I settled on a lollipop with their logo on as I love it, and also a lovely red apron with their logo on. These were a little early birthday treat from my mum, I put off eating the lollipop for so long, a) I'd eaten so much cake it took me a few days to recover, and b) it would then all be gone and I would no longer have it! I am happy to report the chocolate was lovely! And the apron was really good quality and already covered in butter and flour.

I took as many pictures as I could and literally had no shame, it was just as I hoped it'd be and it was nice that even with a jam-packed shop the staff still came over to help when you looked totally torn! I could easily have bought one of their cakes if my bank balance had allowed it just on impulse. Going to this shop was the highlight for me from our weekend in Brighton, I really can't wait to go again. They've just told me that they've got the TV crew in so now could be the time to see some mayhem and action in the shop!

They also have a new super choccy blog up and running, check it out!
Pin It Now!

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Brighton Weekend

This post is about a week late, I've had so much on this week I've just not been able to do any real posting. It was my brother's birthday two days before mine and he really wanted to go to Brighton, so invited us along too which is great as the last time I went I was about 10, so didn't really appreciate where I was.

We stayed about 2 minutes walk, if that from the lanes shopping area. Brimming with independent shops and incredible eating places. I'm pretty sure I've put on a good few pounds from that weekend but it was worth it, we eat somewhere amazing at every meal time which isn't something you can always say when you go away.

One of the main reasons we went was because he has a serious BBQ obsession, and there was a great place there to get it called the 'BBQ Shack' part of the World End's Pub on London Road. The first night we got there we tried to go in...if you've ever seen Man Vs Food then you can imagine what it looked like, quite rocky, packed out and with a band on. There was no chance of getting a table, which while annoying showed it was worth it so we agreed to come back the next day. Which we did and thankfully a lot less busy so got a good big table, the bad news, THEY RAN OUT OF RIBS! The main reason we went! But we thought OK, solider on, it will still be amazing. And it was. I had a huuuuuge brisket sandwich which was massive, spicy and a good splodge of sauce on it. Stupidly ordered it as a meal deal so came with a mammoth amount of fried and coleslaw, it defeated me I am ashamed to say.

My brother however upped the game with the same sandwich and also a half BBQ chicken. Even the waiter was a bit like..."They're both for you??" and I have to say the chicken looked immense. Sexy chicken, that was the word for how it looked. Suddenly you could easily have been in a bar in Tennessee. 

The first night however we did worry we would have to aimlessly walk around until we found somewhere that we liked. We had earlier eaten at Mange Tout which was incredible, I thought I took some picture but it doesn't look like I did, they served amazing garlic sourdough bread I have to say that. We ended up at Breeze, which was actually a lucky last minute choice, it was really laid back, soft lighting and it was one of those places that you just knew would be seriously yummy, and we were right.

Even the starter, bruschetta, which could very well be my favourite dish in the world, looked stunning. I had to take a picture like a crazy person. What I really liked was that when my brother ordered a steak, it came with only a few huge chunky chips placed artily on the plate with the sauce. Not just heaps of oily fries. Everyone loved their meal here which is another rarity!

We ate so much we kept putting off the cake! I had one for him at home, but as it needed some construction I left it until we came home. His father in law brought with him a cake for us to eat there, a monster of a cake! This was a coffee and walnut cake from Nuts Bistro in St Ives. It was absolutely gigantic! We couldn't face any until the last day as we were just constantly full!

We were all sad to come back, and wanted to go straight back! We couldn't though, as we all had to come back to our house to eat MORE cake, the bleeding heart one I made. We also needed to be able to light the candles properly as in the picture above they had to remain unlit as were in a hotel room. I have to say, even now I've still not recovered from all the food to look forward to a big dinner yet.!

We did manage to do some sightseeing too, the pier of course where we watched some fireworks, spent ages in quirky homeware shops and just looking at all of the other shops you just don't find in normal towns. You can also spend hours just people watching, there are some really interesting people there and it's constantly changing.

I did also get to take a visit to Choccywoccydoodah, I took so many photos though that I will have to dedicate a whole post to it alone and show you the goodies I picked up as early birthday treats!

Pin It Now!

Thursday, 10 November 2011

BakingMad's Christmas Fairy Cupcakes

This week I was asked if I would like to take part in a baking campaign for BakingMad, which I jumped it because I always love their website and they always have ideas on there.

I thought I'd do a post about cupcake making, cupcakes were my first baking love so I though it'd be the natural choice! It's also coming up to Christmas (yay!) so I though I'd get some posts in before it actually comes round and it'll be a bit too late to talk about so here's my post for a batch of Christmas Fairy Cakes.

While as I've said before I'm not a huuuuge fan of Christmas cake, a light version in the form of a cupcake is a perfectly acceptable substitute, they're also really cute and you can go to town on the decoration!

This recipe says you can use runny icing, but I absolutely love buttercream so I found a really love recipe on their site for this too. Because they have dark sugar, spices and dried fruit in them they come out looking dark, this almost makes them look like little Christmas puddings when you decorate them, which I actually really love!

Christmas Fair Cake Ingredients:

200g Dark Muscovado Sugar (Billington's)

175g butter, chopped

3 eggs, beaten (Happy Eggs)

200g plain white flour (Allinson Nature Friendly)

1/2 tsp baking powder

1tsp ground mixed spice

1tsp ground cinnamon

2 tsp ginger, freshly grated

1 orange zest and juice
750g mixed dried fruit
85g pecan nuts, chopped
85g ground almonds


  1. Tip your sugar, butter, dried fruit, ginger orange zest and juice into a large pan.
  2. Pour over the juice and turn the heat on and slowly bring to the boil, stirring frequently to melt the butter.
  3. Reduce the heat and bubble gently for 10 minutes – stir regularly. Set aside to cool
  4. Stir in the nuts, eggs and ground almonds into the fruit
  5. Sift in the flour, baking powder and spices and stir everything together, gently but thoroughly.
  6. Heat oven to 150C/130C fan/gas 2. Scoop the cake mix into 24 fairy cake cases then level tops with a spoon dipped in hot water. Bake for 35-45 mins until golden and just firm to touch. A skewer inserted should come out clean. Cool on a wire rack
  7. Make up the fondant icing to a spreading consistency, then swirl on top of each cupcake, then leave to set. Will keep in a tin for 3 weeks.  Or swirl on buttercream ready for decoration.
  8. This when you can add any other decorations like silver balls or holly and berries made from coloured fondant icing. To be really Christmassy you can even add mini candy canes and these are brilliant for kids :)
  9. Eat. Nom!
Buttercream ingredients
50g unsalted butter, softened
200g icing sugar, sifted, Silver Spoon Homegrown
Pure vanilla extract blend, Nielsen-Massey

1.Beat the butter and sugar together until smooth, adding orange juice, coffee or hot water if liked to help soften it and make a soft smooth consistency. If it's for a plain buttercream recipe like this I tend to only add the water.

P.S can you spot the little Star Wars bobblehead? Whoops!

Article commissioned by Performics
Pin It Now!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...