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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No-Bake Dark Chocolate Oat + Nut Snack Bars

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There is something comforting about having cake in the house. A peckish craving springs in the mid-afternoon and a slice of cake with coffee is calling your name. Although, sometimes I want something slightly more nutritious waiting for me.

Whenever I’m working I don’t really have time for a proper sit down breakfast. It’s up and out the door in half an hour and having something I can grab on the way out is really useful.

I’ve been trying to make healthy breakfast-type bars for months now. All of my attempts  were either way too sweet or tasted great but didn’t have the soft chewy texture I was after. I’m kind of put off by shop bought oat bars since they’re usually packed full of sugar and expensive.

These are easy, delicious and quick to make. No oven required, so great to make on a hot summers day when the thought of turning on your oven sends visions of burning hell. Peanut butter, oats, dark chocolate and nuts make these a wonderful filling snack.

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Parsnip, Hazelnut and Stem Ginger Loaf Cake

Every week, me and my friend/colleague are tasked with coming up with three different desserts to put onto the Du Jour menu at work. This is by far, the best part of my job. It’s something I’ve had to earn; no more monotonous cookie dough rolling, cutting and baking for me! My role is so much more creative now; my imagination is let loose like an artist on a blank untouched canvas. The kitchen is my playground.

Yes, at times its stressful and draining having to constantly be conjuring up diverse ideas whilst trying to choose dishes that motivate and inspire me. I don’t want to just keep repeating the same ideas with different flavours. I need to choose things that aren’t only appealing and delicious for the customer, but also choose tasks that enable me to learn new techniques.

Last week, my friend and I decided to put carrot cake on the menu – fruity carrot cake with creme fraiche, crisp sweet carrot chips, coconut sorbet and caramelised roasted pineapple. Bright, bouncy dishes are back in along with breezy spring evenings.

While discussing this specific dish, my friend told me she’d recently made a parsnip loaf. As soon as she said ‘parsnip’ and ‘cake’; I was instantly intrigued. I had made carrot, courgette and even beetroot cake; but parsnip had never landed in my mixing bowl.

As soon as my days off came around, I was in the supermarket spying out my parsnips.

Don’t think that this parsnip cake is going to be anything like carrot cake. It’s not. Carrot cake has a fruity sweetness that emits from the vegetable whereas parsnips, though still sweet, are slightly more savoury. This is what has made this cake so great to me.

A slice of this loaf cake is versatile in both texture and flavour. The soft moist crumb is occasionally interrupted by crunchy roasted hazelnuts and luscious cream cheese. The crumb isn’t obviously sweet, however the topping and little hidden morsels of stem ginger make up for this.

An easy, quick cake that you cake whip up in an hour when unexpected guests arrive, or just for a mid-week treat to get you through to the weekend.IMG_0965 IMG_0990 IMG_1024IMG_1012

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Vegan Rye Cinnamon Pecan Rolls

I really REALLY wish there was somewhere near me that sold vegan cinnamon buns. Because I would be there every single frickin day. I need more baked goods in my life; its making me mentally unstable. Alas, the only place that has a baked good that’s close to a ‘normal’ pastry is Crosstown Doughnuts who have started doing Vegan Doughnuts every Fri, Sat & Sun. All other vegan places near me are very health focused and their baked goods are either in fact raw, or are made with buckwheat flour and there’s no dough in site.

I have yet to venture to Crosstown to try the Vegan doughnuts but the dough (via instagram) looks so bloody tasty, I need to get there ASAP.  (You’ll be seeing an update on that very soon via my instagram.) If anyone knows of any good bakeries in central London near the Victoria/Westminster/Mayfair area, PLEASE let me in on it.

I made these cinnamon rolls with the intention to freeze them in order to sustain me during the week ahead, but they never made it even close to the freezer. I shouldnt be surprised as that’s typical me, but you can’t blame a girl for trying.

This recipe is actually really similar to your average cinnamon roll recipe, and it was really easy to create a vegan version. I gave one of my non-vegan friends one and she soon sent through a lovely text about how amazing they were and how you would have no idea they were vegan. Those kind of words make me so happy; to know that living a vegan lifestyle you don’t need to miss out.

So here you are; a cinnamon roll that both you and your non-vegan friends and family will love. Ssh don’t tell them its vegan and I 100% guarantee they wont even know.

 

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A rich dark and gooey Chocolate Cake for Autumnal nights

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It’s approaching that time of year when the sun retreats into the sky earlier and earlier, leaving us in dusky overcast light before we’ve even sat down for dinner. It’s the time when all you want it to do is hide under your covers every morning and leave the responsibilities shut outside where they can’t get you. Its the time when food becomes more than fuel for your body, it fuels your soul. You yearn for those familiar flavours, smells, comforts that somehow got forgotten over the past summer of raw salads.

I’ve been searching for a cake like this for a long time. A cake that you can throw together without much effort. A cake that has that envious gooey, shiny interior that we all thrive for in a chocolate cake. But most importantly for me, that deep rich dark colour. Nothing makes me ache more for a sweet snack than an intense dark brown crumb.

I can wholeheartedly admit to you that all I want after pounding the harsh concrete pavements of London and slugging through the rain is this. This isn’t a pretty cake. It’s not about that. This loaf cake is about cutting out the manners and getting straight to what you came for.

Although however raw, unrefined or informal a cake like this is; there’s still something ever so charming about it. It’s not a slice of cake that’s ‘too beautiful to eat.’ It practically screams at you to devour it. That said, unashamed, that’s what we shall do.

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Soft Cinnamon Rolls with a Coffee Cream Cheese Glaze

IMG_5257IMG_5245I know what you’re thinking right now, because I’m thinking it too. I went way overboard with that glaze. Theres enough glaze there for three times the amount of Cinnamon Rolls I’ve baked.

I read on the internet somewhere that smothering your cinnamon buns in glorious glossy glaze while still hot from the oven, made them irresistibly moist as it settled into the cracks. I obviously took this literally and smothered until my heart was content. Trust me, I’m definitely content.

I have to admit though, that glaze really makes these rolls enticing. Just look at that shine! Its captivating buttery smell and glistening top lures you into the kitchen like a kid looking for the leftover cake batter spoon.

Sometimes when I bake something, I have no idea what its going to turn out like. Other times I know its going to be a disaster from the outset. And on the rare occasion everything goes so perfectly, I know whats going to emerge from my oven is going to be great. Just the smell of these as they were baking away in my kitchen made a smile play on my lips.

One thing that made these so perfect was that I made them solely for me. I didn’t spend days thinking of what I could bake for the blog to make it more diverse, interesting or unique. I had a craving for cinnamon buns and I made them. Just the way I like them. Just for me. Rustic, simple and humble. No fancy presentation, just the cinnamon bun. So ordinary but so charming too.IMG_5171IMG_5177IMG_5209IMG_5262IMG_5198IMG_5268

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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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