Gingerbread Pancakes with Almonds and Maple Roasted Pear

img_4275I had big plans for this post. I was going to blab about my recent trip to Iceland and post this finger licking recipe with it. However, after having a quick hour long peek gaze through my photos, I’ve realised how many photos I want to share and that it’s completely incomprehensible to put it all into one post. You’d probably fall asleep on your keyboard by the end. All the while thinking, where the f is this recipe?!

So to save those of you who’re here for the recipe, I’ll save my romantic Iceland babble about how I want to repeatedly travel there forever and ever and ever, for another post.

I’m sure a lot of you are pretty ecstatic that November has finally arrived. I adore Autumn. The coziness, the hot drinks, the shameless eating begins. I swear that my body just needs an extra layer of fat every year. This is why it craved a biscuit tin of 40 Bourbon biscuits… (you probably think I’m joking but the tin of biscuits next to me right now says otherwise.)

I’m having to show real restraint with christmas decorations this month. I can’t stop going into Oxford Street every week and staring at the same christmas decorations, revisiting the same shops I went into the week before. I desperately wanted to haul them up this week but my co-workers have repeatedly chimed that its way too early. I’ll wait one more week.

As the cold weather approaches, so do the spices, chutney, cheese, nuts and old music. There aren’t many breakfasts I can think of that scream autumn to me, but this one certainly does.

Whenever I go home to see my Mum, she makes me fluffy American blueberry pancakes. She uses a Jamie Oliver recipe and I love them so much I decided to tweak them a little to taste like gingerbread. Queue black treacle and ginger. Sprinkling flaked almonds on one side of the pancake adds a lovely note of nutty flavour and texture. A warm, sticky, sweet roasted pear permeated with maple syrup couldn’t be a better accompaniment to this gorgeous breakfast treat.

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Continue reading “Gingerbread Pancakes with Almonds and Maple Roasted Pear”

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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Chocolate Hazelnut Cheesecake with Cherry Compote

IMG_2540IMG_2533‘What shall I make this week?’ Is probably the question I ask most to family and friends.

Sometimes I sit for hours scouring the internet, desperately clawing for an idea that might take my fancy. I flick through practically new cook books I’ve never used. Shut the book, empty-handed and empty minded, only to remember why I didn’t ever use them before.

Other times, like this sweet time, an idea drifts out of nowhere and flutters into my lap. I stumble upon a thought or, most likely, my appetite leads me to something I don’t often eat. I love creating something I haven’t made in a while. I’m struck with a new feeling of vigour and I relish in my precious time in the kitchen. My little escape.

Nothing makes my mouth water more than an indulgent slice of sugary temptation.

Sitting there like bait. Something that has a humble, rustic quality to it. Something that I don’t worry about eating and basically ruining because it’s too pretty. I read a quote recently that resonated with me; a quote I couldn’t agree more with.

‘Real food means big-flavoured unpretentious cooking. Good ingredients made into something worth eating. Just nice, uncomplicated food.’ – Nigel Slater Continue reading “Chocolate Hazelnut Cheesecake with Cherry Compote”

A Summer Weekend Strawberry and Rhubarb Pie

IMG_2106 2IMG_2128Usually when I post on here, I plan ahead. I make whatever delicious treat I crave a week in advance and schedule a time on my days off to sit in front of my computer. Today though, I made something so ideal for this warm summer weekend that I had to post it today.

The weather here has been pure bliss; glistening sunshine that tickles the skin, ocean blue skies and a gentle breeze to cool you. My favourite kind of weather is a crisp spring or autumn morning however, this has some strong competition after today’s perfect weather.

For me, summer is about a plethora of vibrant plump fruits and vegetables. Cooking is so much easier in the warm weather. In winter you need to add other flavours to potatoes and lets face it, kind of boring root vegetables. It requires an effort. In summer though, fruits scream with their bright coloured skins and burst with lively flavours bringing your taste buds to life. No need for extras. Just let their natural, delightful sweetness charm you into long summer nights and the smoky calling of your barbecue. Continue reading “A Summer Weekend Strawberry and Rhubarb Pie”

Salted Caramel Brioche Doughnuts

IMG_1900Unbeknown to me, it was national doughnut day a few weeks ago. As soon as my WordPress, Instagram and Facebook feeds filled up with photo after photo of puffed, golden, chocolate covered doughnuts; I was mad that I had no idea this day even existed and more so that I’d missed it.

I hadn’t made doughnuts in a really long time. For me, they’re the ultimate sweet treat. So many people think of them as the ultimate guilt trigger too. The way I see it is that life’s too short not to eat delicious food. If you can’t eat it now then when are you ever going to eat it?

Lots of you have probably visited Borough Market in central London. The first time I went I was on my own; a scared London newbie with no idea where anything was. I walked around the market, strolling past the same stalls about fives times (only now do I realise I missed half the market.) It was a ridiculously busy saturday lunchtime and I was still overcoming the notion that I had to push to the front of the crowd to get served. Along with an abundance of bread, cheese, sweet treats and fresh vegetables, I came away with a morsel that would force me back to the market a whole lot more in the future. Continue reading “Salted Caramel Brioche Doughnuts”

Chocolate Bark: A Lesson In Tempering Chocolate

IMG_1228When I first started training as a Pastry Chef, I was terrified of everything. I could happily make a batch of brownie at home but as soon as I was faced with this simple task at work, I would over think it as if it were a science experiment. The batches were 12kg big… that may have had something to do with my irrational fears. Continue reading “Chocolate Bark: A Lesson In Tempering Chocolate”

Chocolate Ale and Pear Cake with Chocolate Sauce (and a little coffee kick)

Chocolate SauceI feel like I’m loosing it a bit recently.

I’ve gone through this before with the blog, but this time its work. During the week just past, I made two batches of sponge that went wrong. Not completely horrendous but still not right. I made Blood Orange Marmalade that was too thick and syrupy that I had to let it down the next day with more water. I then wrapped up some beautiful Green Tea Chiffon Gateaux’s that I had made, only to find the next day that the paper had stuck to the white glaze like superglue and I lost half of them. Continue reading “Chocolate Ale and Pear Cake with Chocolate Sauce (and a little coffee kick)”