Butternut Squash, Mushroom + Stilton Quiche

IMG_7613

There’s something so alluring about a beautifully baked quiche, just waiting for the first cut. I’m not sure if it’s the golden pastry peeping out around the edges or the shiny surface hinting at what awaits inside.

Sweet, tender butternut squash peeping through gives this quiche a delicate orange hue. Along with the sweet caramelised onions, floral rosemary and earthy mushrooms; it has a savoury sweetness that’s contrasted against the strong stilton cheese.

Savoury tarts aren’t something that’s thrown together. It takes time, but the reward of a soft-set rich slice of warm quiche waiting at the end more than makes up for it. There are a few crucial steps to make an exceptionally good quiche. Blind baking the shortcrust pastry and egg washing it to ensure a crisp base is the first. The second, is baking it until the filling is puffed and golden with an ever so slight wobble in the centre which will result in a velvet soft filling. I also choose to opt for a deep pie-style dish so that you have a tall slice that stands proud.

Quiches are such an adaptable bake. They’re perfect for lunch and dinner as well as those peckish moments. A way to use up spare vegetables, an excuse to spend a few hours tucked away in the kitchen or a need for a stunning picnic item; quiche is the answer.

IMG_7565IMG_7575IMG_7642IMG_7654IMG_7698

Continue reading “Butternut Squash, Mushroom + Stilton Quiche”

Raspberry + Dark Chocolate Muffins

IMG_7545

Baked goods at breakfast are my top pick to accompany a large dark cup of coffee. Buttery croissants, sweet danishes, warm banana bread and obviously a classic muffin. I’m a sucker for a big blueberry muffin but when I decided to knock up a batch, I wanted to go for a more refined flavour that wasn’t overpoweringly sweet.

Tangy raspberries and dark chocolate compliment each other in this perfectly sweet and tender muffin batter. Alongside orange and toasted almonds, these make a delicate morning treat.

IMG_7471IMG_7510IMG_7522IMG_7557 Continue reading “Raspberry + Dark Chocolate Muffins”

Cheddar + Garlic Herb Buttermilk Twist Bread

IMG_7357

I’ve been eating a lot of cheese lately. Since we’ve been blessed with some warmer days here in England, picnics have become more frequent and so have the cheese and meat plates. Browsing artisan British cheeses in lovely little Deli’s is one of my favourite things to do. Having beautifully made ingredients in my fridge is something that really inspires me to cook. It’s so gratifying to rummage in the fridge and emerge with an idea for a delicious meal.

Having this alluring loaf made me really look forward to breakfast and lunch for a couple of days. My housemate had leftover buttermilk from her homemade cultured butter, so it was the perfect excuse to make some buttermilk bread.

This isn’t the kind of bread to make a sandwich with. Its delicate and soft with a crisp cheesy shell. The strong basil and rosemary garlic butter leaves grooves in the fluffy buttermilk dough where its been absorbed along with the melted cheddar and parmesan. My favourite way of eating it is to toast it, spread over a thin layer of butter, followed by a layer of thinly sliced cheddar (yes, cheese on cheese bread), a sliced pickled walnut and a few slices of ripe tomato. It’s a very grown up version of a cheese and pickle sandwich. It’s also lovely with avocado and eggs as well as just on it own.

IMG_7332IMG_7350IMG_7394IMG_7401IMG_7438 Continue reading “Cheddar + Garlic Herb Buttermilk Twist Bread”

Pecan Caramel + Biscoff Birthday Cake

IMG_7255

It was a weekend of birthdays for me last week. My sisters 30th and my friends 31st. It meant it was also a weekend of cake. Since we are still in lockdown and I have all the time in the world for once, I decided to make them both birthday cakes.

I’m really missing the culture of coffee and cake; although this heatwave here in England makes me crave ice cream by the tub load. I miss sitting, chatting and relaxing over a slow coffee and sweet cake with a loved one. I don’t often make cakes like this is in my spare time. I prefer a humbler cake at home but the special people in your life deserve something wonderful.

That brings us to this lovely cake. Five layers of brown sugar sponge, dark pecan caramel and glossy light-as-air Biscoff swiss meringue buttercream. A dream. Surprisingly, this cake isn’t too sweet. I was worried it was all going to be a bit much together, but it’s helped by the light texture of the buttercream.

In these weird and unfamiliar times, I like to think that something as simple and small as a piece of cake can help. Even if it is just a little.

IMG_7172IMG_7175IMG_7258IMG_7260IMG_7297IMG_7243

Continue reading “Pecan Caramel + Biscoff Birthday Cake”

Vanilla Maple + Coffee Crullers

IMG_7127

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.

IMG_7074IMG_7082IMG_7134IMG_7165

Continue reading “Vanilla Maple + Coffee Crullers”

Rough Puff Sausage Rolls with Sage + Pickled Walnuts

IMG_6975IMG_7008

After a week of colder and typically English drizzly weather in June, I needed some buttery baked goods to brighten up the days. If you’re wondering what to eat, the answer is often sausage roll. Lunch box treat? Sausage roll. Snack? Sausage roll. Picnic in the park? Sausage roll. Cheeky breakfast? Sausage roll.

The first time you make sausage rolls, you realise what a sad version the shop-bought ones are. Pale soggy pastry, which lost all its flake in transit, filled with grey unseasoned filling. Granted, I have bought my fair share of supermarket sausage rolls. They have their place when time isn’t on your side and you just want convenience. Making your own is definitely more work but the beautiful product you get at the end is more than worth it.

I decided to make rough puff pastry as it’s a little easier than traditional puff pastry, but still gives you a flaky glossy and flavourful crust. By adding in fresh sage, caramelised onion and crushed pickled walnuts the sausage meat develops just the right amount of tang and sweetness.

IMG_6883IMG_6884IMG_6900IMG_6930IMG_6945

Continue reading “Rough Puff Sausage Rolls with Sage + Pickled Walnuts”

Carrot Cake + Orange Cream Cheese Frosting

 

IMG_6805Sometimes I just want cake. A simple recipe with instant gratitude. Something that doesn’t take me days to make. I love mixing a cake batter, pouring it into the tin and it’s straight in the oven. I wanted to make something quick and easy this week. I opted for carrot cake because it fit with the sunny weather we’ve been having and its very swift to throw together. I didn’t want to faff with a sandwich-style cake; aiming for ease here I went for a single layer cake that would be lovely to pack and take for a picnic (which is exactly what I did.) It also allows for a delightful cake to frosting ratio.

Toasted pistachios, orange cream cheese frosting and a lightly spiced carrot cake are flavours that melt into one another. The ritual of coffee and cake is prominent in a lot of cultures and for me, it’s a small moment in a day that feels like pure comfort.

IMG_6797IMG_6858IMG_6850IMG_6770

 

Continue reading “Carrot Cake + Orange Cream Cheese Frosting”

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.

IMG_65462IMG_6706IMG_6743

Continue reading “Extra-Flaky Cherry Pie”