Chai-spiced Honey Brioche Knots

Life seems to be ever changing at the moment but at the same time, standing completely still. Life’s never been so different with current politics and Covid. We’ve all had to adapt and change our everyday routines although life is quite stagnant. Days which I would usually look forward to celebrating seem to be passing me by like any other. So how do I find joy in what could be seen as a grey world right now? Well, the comfort of food.

I seek solace in my kitchen whether it be a simple slice of hot toast, or one of these fragrant buns. I can forget about the world outside and its just me and my bakes. I hope that these can also bring you a lift in times when other little happiness’s are absent. Lets revel in the smaller delights.

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Chewy Macadamia + Apricot Oat Cookies

Cold brisk mornings, cosy evenings spent at home and light salads exchanged for filling, rich comfort foods. With this Autumnal weather having arrived in full force I’ve been craving a more hearty biscuit. One that will accompany an afternoon cupper on a cool October day.

I think that Oat cookies are so underrated. I feel like they’re kind of overlooked in the baking world but I’m here to give them a moment in the spotlight.

These beauties have a thick chewy centre with a thin crisp golden edge. The toasted macadamia nuts give you a great savoury bite amongst the sweet morsels of dried apricot. I’ve used a mixture of soft brown sugar and caster sugar to give them a slight caramel flavour, while the added malt extract gives these they’re distinct chew.

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Lemon + Raspberry Layer Cake

This recipe has been waiting to pop up on here for a few months. For a while, I thought it was destined to stay that way until I realised it was coming into Autumn. Soon I would lose out on posting it due to seasonality and it almost not ‘fitting in.’ Before we are engulfed by all things beige, I’m sending you something with a hint of colour.

I love making my friends and family cakes for special occasions and this Raspberry & Lemon cake was made for my sisters 30th birthday. The elegant duo of lemon and raspberry is a classic and always goes down well. The sponge is tender, contrasting against the raspberry jam that punches through. All coated in a delicate, glossy swiss meringue buttercream which is both zesty and light.

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Sticky Butterscotch Stem Ginger Cake

Nothing evokes the feeling of a cosy Autumnal evening quite like a slice of sticky ginger cake. The thought of its dark luring crumb and spiced ginger aroma wafting through the house is enough to make me crave it. Sticky toffee pudding is I think, one of the best baking inventions possibly ever. So I thought I would combine the two for a perfect warming treat.

This cake stays fresh and moist for a couple of days, making it an even more rewarding bake. It’s my favourite way to end a long day. A bowl of warm sticky ginger cake doused in indulgent dark toffee sauce nestled under a blanket with the cold autumnal evening outside.

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Late Summer Greengage, Marmalade + Almond Tart

Its taken me a while to get this recipe up. As the world slowly went back to a new kind of normal, a lot of the free time I’ve had over the last few months has all but evaporated. However, I did manage to make time to squeeze in a bake using some of these gorgeous Greengages.

For me, late summer and early autumn is a time for seasonal fruits. A glut of ripe ingredients ready to snap up. Blink and they’ll be gone before winter sets in. Figs, Greengages, Damsons and Mirabelle’s are among my favourites this time of year. A great time to pickle, jam and preserve them before they’re gone. Also perfectly delightful to eat alone.

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Rugbrød (Danish Rye Bread)

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Those of you that know me, know that I have a real love affair with the Scandinavian way of life. I love the food, the cooler weather, the idea of long summer days, the Fika culture of coffee and cake with friends and the lovely hues of the painted buildings. If I were to choose somewhere to live other than the UK, it would undoubtedly be in one of those countries.

I gifted my mum the cookbook ‘The New Nordic’ by Simon Bajada after our trip to Iceland a few years ago. On my last visit home I found myself flitting through the pages, noting recipes I couldn’t wait to try, when I came across this Rye bread. I love Smørrebrød (a traditional Scandinavian open sandwich), of which Rye bread is an essential part.

Traditional Rugbrød is made with a sourdough starter however, Simon Bajada’s version uses a pre-soak made 18-24 hours before the dough is made to give it that sour taste without the hassle of tending to a sourdough starter.

My first attempt was sunken in the middle and raw. I knew when I had made the dough that it seemed too wet so, for my second I decided to add a little more flour and it turned out perfectly.

Rye bread stays fresher for much longer than white bread and is packed full of goodness. Cracked rye grains, sunflower seeds and linseeds means this bread is really filling without being too heavy.

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Tiramisu

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With a broken oven and a week of epic kitchen fails behind me, I decided it was time to make a Tiramisu. It’s quick, satisfying and one of my favourite desserts. I’m a big coffee drinker and if I can consume even more in a creamy dessert, I’m there.

There are a lot of Tiramisu recipes out there. The last one I made a few months ago was just shy of perfect. It was beautifully soft with a moreish quality but it was too soft for a large Tiramisu. It would’ve been perfect for gooey individual portions.

I wanted to create a Tiramisu that was soft enough that the sponge and mascarpone cream melted into one another, but that was firm enough to cleanly serve and stand proud on its own. So on my second try, I decided to increase the mascarpone and decrease the amount of eggs so that the cream had more body but hopefully didn’t lose its perfect texture.

Delicately whipped with a strong creamy mascarpone flavour, this Tiramisu is wonderful. With every silky bite I just want to eat more. Tiramisu has always been something that I’ve eaten practically as quickly as I made it. This one being no exception.

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Butternut Squash, Mushroom + Stilton Quiche

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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.

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