Vanilla Maple + Coffee Crullers

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Puffed, soft, sticky and sweet. French Crullers. I didn’t actually know that they existed until a few weeks ago when I was thinking about making doughnuts and ended up coming across them. One of my greatest pleasures is a strong cup of coffee alongside a golden brown, shiny, glazed doughnut.

The only downside to making them at home is that its quite a long process. It takes hours to make, prove, shape, prove again, fry and finish. I’m very much the kind of person that would take half a day to do that but I get that not everyone is. That’s where Crullers come in. Make choux paste, pipe it, fry it and glaze it. Finished.

However, these don’t have an ordinary doughnut texture. Expect a soft airy interior that’s not sweet nor savoury; very much like a traditional baked choux. The outside stays soft but retains its shape so that the sweet glaze can rest in its grooves.

Quick, fun and delicious. I just wish I made more.

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Extra-Flaky Cherry Pie

IMG_6700I had never been a particularly big fan of cherries growing up. I’d eat fresh when they were offered but they weren’t ever used in baking by family members. I can count my food dislikes on one hand, I pretty much love everything. Although one of my most loathed flavours is bitter almond, something that accompanies cherry in a lot of recipes. This means Cherry Bakewell tart is pushed to the side lines meaning my childhood memories of baked goods have not a cherry in sight.

When I started working in professional kitchens, one of the first things I noticed was the quality of the produce. Unlike anything you’ve ever tasted in the supermarket. Every ingredient had so much flavour, especially the fruit. Every year when cherries come into season, we receive large punnets of dark shiny cherries. Beautifully sweet and rich with their wine coloured juice, sometimes they seem too precious to do anything with other than leave them.

I’m also not an avid pie maker. Although I’ve always thought there was something so lovely about a pie that brings people together. Its humble but charming. Faced with the task at hand, I was determined to choose an extra flaky pie crust recipe. Enter Stella Parks. After much research, I chose Stella’s recipe knowing that the large butter layers and folding technique would ensure separate crisp layers.

My perfect cherry pie is crisp, buttery and golden. The filling needs to be firm enough to hold together when cut, but soft enough to that it remains silky when eaten. This turned out to be all those things. Delicious fresh. Delicious cold from the fridge. Delicious warmed in the microwave with ice cream. Delicious however you like it.

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Vegan Gooey Mocha Brownie Pudding

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When the days are growing darker and the sun seems to be retreating behind the clouds more everyday day, this is what I crave. I know for a lot of you summer is still in full swing. I mean, its August. But here in the UK however, it feels like October most of the days. The rain showers for hours on end although we still have those occasional summery moments but they are few and far between.

Who am I kidding anyway, it could be 30 degrees outside and I’d still want this. Its part of my DNA. Rarely does a day go by that I don’t reach for some chocolate. Lets be real.

So I bring you something that I loved to eat before becoming vegan and as always, anything can be made just as tasty vegan! I went a little crazy and added dark and white chocolate for added indulgence. I also popped in a hit of my favourite organic coffee because coffee always brings out the flavour in chocolate and seems to make it taste richer.

I love that all these ingredients are already in my cupboards and its so quick to make. Perfect when you’re in need of a quick chocolate fix. Just please don’t overbake this loveliness. Keep that centre gooey and a little underbaked. Keep that sponge dense and rich. Keep your belly, mind and taste buds chipper.

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Rhubarb and Raspberry Cobbler (with a hint of Grapefruit)

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Rhubarb will always have a special place in my heart, as does most seasonal fruit. Although, Rhubarb has a certain charm that entices me every year without fail more so than anything else. I obsess over it at work; wanting every dish to contain Rhubarb and its lustrous hue. There isn’t a way Rhubarb has been baked, stewed, compressed or poached that I haven’t enjoyed. My most favourite being hearty chunks macerated in sugar for an hour or two, eaten in their raw state with a little hint of sweetness to tone down that bite.

I adore the moment when its juices gets you round the teeth; you love it and hate it at the same time, a flavour unlike anything else and immediately recognisable.

I’ve never made a cobbler before and only eaten it once. I’m more inclined to lean toward a crumble because that’s what my British roots have instilled in me. However, this time, I felt like I wanted more of a cakey topping so I turned to the cobbler instead. I paired Rhubarb with fresh Raspberries and a large squeeze of Red Grapefruit to really intensify the bitterness against the sweet doughy topping. Adding in ground and roughly chopped almonds into the dough gives the cobbler a delicate nutty flavour.

Hands down, my favourite part to a cobbler is the variety in texture. One mouthful is crunchy, crisp and clean and the next is a smack in the mouth filled with sharp Rhubarb juices and soggy dough that’s been drinking it all up.

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Stem Ginger Sticky Toffee Pudding with Brandy Butterscotch Sauce

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I’m sat at my desk right now, devouring a hot toasted cheese doused in worcestershire sauce. As I ran into the kitchen five minutes ago (having completely forgotten my dinner was in the oven) there was my housemate, preparing a large bowl of apple pie and custard. More like a couple of mini apple pies floating in a large pool of yellow custard. As much as I found it hilarious when he took his bowl down to his room using oven mitts, all be it with a little shame on his face, I found our mutual food habits more endearing.

This cold weather seems to force me to reach for comfort food, as it does so many like my housemate. Hot dishes laden with butter, cheese, cream or anything to put a bit more warmth in my bones.

After Christmas, I vowed I’d jump straight back onto the health and fitness train but it was much easier said than done. Do you know what? I have no regrets over the endless amounts of doughnuts, pastries and chocolate I’ve eaten. Every mouthful has filled me with joy and comforted me when I’m freezing my ass off in the kitchen at work everyday.

Nothing would make me yearn for home and the comfort of my bed, my duvet and my television more than this sticky toffee pudding. Sticky toffee pudding is amazing on its own, but when you add in stem ginger and brandy butterscotch sauce it creates an even more welcoming bowl. The stem ginger is a lovely hit of flavour against the sweet caramel sponge along with the brandy sauce warming your throat.

Straight after I made this, I couldn’t wait to share it with you all. It’s easy, doesn’t require any fancy equipment and is one of my favourite dishes.

I was lucky enough to be asked to post this for Wayfair, a company which sells a vast array of homewares. Find the recipe over at Wayfair.co.uk

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Momofuku Milk Bar Banana Cream Pie

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People always say, ‘when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.’ I say, ‘when life gives you black overripe bananas, make Momofuku banana cream pie.’

Who knew that leaving your bananas to practically rot away in your kitchen over Christmas by mistake was a good thing?! Blackened bananas are the key ingredient to this unforgettable pie. They are the starring ingredient here, paying homage to the humble banana. This brilliant idea comes from Christina Tosi, creator of Momofuku Milk Bar.

In Tosi’s recipe, she recommends leaving your bananas to ripen until the skin is practically black. This way they become intensely flavoured, soft and with an unmistakable caramel punch to them. Not the kind of banana you’d like to eat though. Save your sweet yellow eating bananas for the hidden middle layer of sliced banana.

I absolutely love the ideas that emerge from the Milk Bar cookbook. Using humble ingredients, Christina Tosi creates approachable and unique desserts. I’m drawn to her diverse use of everyday foods; ones that you wouldn’t typically use in baking. For example, her compost cookie is packed with chocolate chips, pretzels and crisps! The Momofuku Milk Bar book will definitely be a new addition to my bookshelf.

So before you emerge in the new year a new you, healthier and vowed off sugar for the best part of January; I urge you to try this ingenious creation. Theres always room for more pie in my world.

Fun internet watching: If you want to know more about this and watch Christina herself make this pie, you can watch it in the series “The Mind of a Chef” in the episode ‘Rotten.’ A great quick watch I’d highly recommend. Click Here to watch

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Mocha Birthday Cake: Chocolate Chip Coffee Sponge, Dark Chocolate Ganache and Coffee Mascarpone Icing

IMG_3664I really believe that you should make the most of your birthday. Whether you’re 1 or 101, it should be a real celebration. I no longer do these one day birthdays, I need to eek it out for as long as possible. Preferably spanning a week; book a holiday, plan meals, research the birthday cake you’re going to bake for yourself months in advance…

It’s a day to eat whatever the hell you want, wear whatever the hell you want and say whatever you want because its your birthday.

Besides, you’ll only turn 22 once. This day only comes once a year so why not milk it for all its worth? You’ve waited 365 days for this.

I hope you’ve caught on by now and have realised, it was MY birthday. My celebrations consisted of a takeaway in my pyjamas, a massage, meals, a trip to the cinema and a four-day adventure to Iceland (more about that soon.)

It was only a week ago and I miss this cake already. I miss Iceland already. I spent a really long time debating what kind of route I wanted to take. I was torn between a simple apple cake or a really indulgent five layered chocolate cake. After what felt like days and days on Pinterest, I finally settled on this Mocha inspired number.

By putting chocolate chunks into a coffee sponge, I didn’t need to decide between a chocolate sponge or a vanilla one. I got the best of both worlds. A mascarpone icing is a great alternative to butter icing as it keeps the sweetness down. Layering the sponge with rich, silky, chocolate ganache was a no brainer and just needed to happen.

A voila! A twenty-two year old coffee addicts dream birthday cake.

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Blackberry, Orange and Chocolate Bread Pudding for one

IMG_3340One thing that really bothers me about living on my own, is buying food for one. I hate leftovers and, more than anything, I hate wasting food. I admit that some leftover meals are crazy delicious, like christmas leftover sandwiches or bubble and squeak, and they do have their place when it comes to time-saving. But eating a three-day old soggy lasagne just doesn’t do it for me.

One of my favourite things to buy is a crusty fresh loaf of bread from a local shop. I can’t think of many things more satisfying than the smell of a freshly baked loaf. Accompany some pungent ripe cheese with that and I’m yours. However, 9 times out of 10, I won’t eat all of it before it becomes stale beyond any saving. And this is with me eating it at every opportunity, trying to avoid this. Life seems to get in the way and this happens with a fair amount of food in my house.

I honestly think someone should create a supermarket for singles. Everything should come in single sized portions. I really don’t like eating the same meal over and over again, so buying a pack of six sausages means I have to eat sausages for three days in a row. All of the dishes I bake in on a day-to-day basis are single sized or two portion maximum, for this reason exactly.

So here I am, saving all you fellow single gals and guys out there from leftovers and throwing away old food; because you really can’t face the thought of another lacklustre pasta dish hanging around your fridge for days again.

Bread pudding uses up leftover milk, berries, croissants and anything else you feel like throwing in there. Make this what you want. It’s all about taking out what I’ve put in and changing it for what tickles your fancy. Nothing screams Autumn like a steaming dish of hot, creamy bread pudding just for you.

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