blog > tag > baking
March 18, 2013
Smitten Kitchen was one of the first food blogs I started following many years ago, along with Lottie and Doof and 101 Cookbooks. I continue to check in with these three foodies more often than any others as there is always something tempting on offer, with an interesting story and fabulous pictures.
It often means I’m converting US to UK measurements though, so I’m thrilled to hear that the recently released Smitten Kitchen cookbook is now available in the UK, and if this blueberry cornmeal butter cake is anything to go by, it is definitely worth picking up.
I love blueberries but rarely cook with them and this will certainly change after making this delicious bake, which is somewhere between crumble and cake. It is not overly sweet, which I really like, and recieved rave reviews from friends and family this week. I'll certainly be making it again. I couldn’t find cormeal so substituted polenta, which worked fine.
Find the full Smitten Kitchen recipe via Bleubird here.
Other posts you might like:
December 29, 2012
I love having friends over and although I never need an excuse, Christmas and New Year's provides the ultimate occasion to plan few little get-togethers at home. But let’s be honest, it can be quite overwhelming to entertain and make things extra special, even for your closest friends and family. However Nigella struck a cord with me in her entertaining section in Nigella Express, saying that is its far better to put on an abundance of a few choice dishes rather than stressing about lots of different ones. She reckons it is much more welcoming and I couldn’t agree more.
So in a quiet moment the other weekend, I had a cup of mulled wine and made up a big batch of gougéres from Mimi Thorisson’s recipe on her fabulous blog, Manger - which I first raved about here. I keep spotting recipes for these French cheesy puffs around and I’m so pleased I finally gave them a go.
They are deliciously light and flavoursome, and definitely worth the elbow grease required in vigorously mixing the batter. I got in a bit of a mess piping out the little golden nuggets, but that’s more due to my inexperience than the recipe itself. It is really quite simple, and as Mimi suggests, the gougéres are the perfect chic snack for serving with wine or champagne.
I added fresh thyme leaves, which worked well, and I'm sure other herbs and different cheeses would be equally delish. After snaffling a couple, I popped them in the freezer to be brought out and reheated for guests. They went down a storm and were on regular rotation in our house over Christmas. Find the recipe here.
October 8, 2012
Occasionally I wake in the morning with an overwhelming urge to make bake something. Rather than waiting until after work like I'm sure most normal people do, impatient me can often be found pulling out the flour and eggs and throwing something in the oven in time to head upstairs to start work in my office by 9am. I guess morning baking is one of the perks of working from home but I'm often rushing, which leads to less than pretty results and explains why few of these AM bakes have made it onto the blog.
These beauties were so delicious though that I felt compelled to share. The baking urge struck when I spotted some sad looking apples lingering in the fruit bowl and I had a quick flick through my recipe books for some ideas. The apple cinnamon muffins from Nigella's Kitchen caught my eye as I had almost everything on hand and they seemed relatively healthy with the use of spelt rather than white flour.
Well they did not disappoint and I was happy to discover that such an easy recipe could be so tasty. The recipe was super quick and the muffins filled the kitchen with a deliciously cosy smell as they baked. I liked that they were wholesome and not too sweet, and found myself polishing off two plain for breakfast and a further two with mature cheddar for lunch. You have to try this combo. So. Good.
I made a few adjustments from Nigella's recipe, swapping low fat creme fraiche for plain yoghurt; using mixed seeds instead of almonds and substituting half spelt for rye flour. If you fancy some simple no-fuss baking or just have some apples to use up, I highly recommend giving this babies a go.
Apple cinnamon muffins
From Kitchen by Nigella Lawson
- 2 eating apples
- 250g spelt flour (or you can use plain flour)
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 125g light brown sugar (plus extra for sprinkling)
- 125ml honey
- 60ml natural yogurt
- 125ml vegetable oil
- 2 eggs
- 75g unblanched almonds
Heat your oven to 200c/180c fan/gas 6 and line a muffin tin with cases. (NB. The recipe makes 12, although my muffin tin is quite small so I got 16)
Peel the apples and then cut into small 1cm cubes. Next weigh out the flour, baking powder and a teaspoon on cinnamon into a bowl. In a seperate bowl measure out the brown sugar, honey, yogurt, vegetable oil and eggs and whisk together.
Chop the almonds. Add half of the almonds to the flour and put the other half in another small bowl. Add a teaspoon of cinnamon and 4 teaspoons of sugar to the small bowl of almonds...this is the topping for sprinkling on top of the muffins.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and then fold gently. Next add the chopped apple and combine. Spoon to divide the batter between the 12 muffin cases and then sprinkle the almond, sugar and cinnamon topping over each one.
Bake for around 20 minutes or until risen and golden. Once removed from the oven leave in the tin for 5 minutes before transferring the muffins to a cooling rack.
August 24, 2012
1. Dark walls + portraits + reclaimed headboard = dreamy bedroom. Found Via Enhabiten.
2. I really don’t need any more cushion but if I did, this pretty from Rigby and Mac would be snapped up.
3. I have a little bowl collecting problem and this beauty from Anthroplogie is my next target.
4. Cookbooks are my other obsession and I love that Let’s Eat by Tom Parker Bowels is deciphered from the recipe notebook he take on his travels.
5. I never tire of simple blooms in a plain glass jar. It is always chic. Via Cote Maison.
6. It is portraits like these by Karen Offutt that make me wish I had pursed art further after school.
7. I made these brownies for the lovely folk coming to our furniture painting workshop tomorrow and they are GOOD!
8. If could justify spending £100 on a necklace, this might be one of the main contenders!
October 26, 2011
I love how foods, like songs, can vividly transport you back to a time or place. Cinnamon buns do that for me with our year spent in Canada. I don’t get that nostalgic feeling too often though as it is hard find buns made the North American way with cream cheese icing in bakeries here in the UK.
I’ve been meaning to try them out at home but have been quite daunted by the various recipes I’ve come across and the idea of making a sweet dough for the first time. The time had obviously come to tackle them however, when this month's Fresh from the oven baking challenge was posted: Cinnamon buns.
Claire from Things We Make shared her recipe, which sounded great, but I decided to investigate further in my quest for cream cheese icing. I stumbled across a fantastic blog, which has become a firm favourite – Foodness, written by Vancouver-based dietician, Jenn – and from her cinnamon buns post I knew this was the recipe to try. It is by Molly Wizenberg for Bon Appetit magazine.
The only word I can really use sum up these buns up is heavenly. Truly heavenly. I was really quite worried they wouldn’t live up to my memory, but I have to say I was very impressed with the first attempt! Aside from the hassle of converting US measurements, the recipe isn’t difficult and yields a wonderfully textured dough, perfectly moist filling and the most delicious icing. To save on a few calories – although lets be honest, you’re most likely past caring when one of these babies passes your lips – I omitted the butter from the icing and really didn’t miss it.
I’m so glad the Fresh From The Oven challenge pushed me into finally trying them out - I’ll definitely be making this recipe again. Find the full recipe here.
September 15, 2011
I love autumn. It is my favourite season and despite having a completely dismal summer here in the UK, I’ve been looking forward to the crunch of leaves underfoot and making cosy food in the kitchen as the air turns cool. I love autumn clothing too, something just makes me smile about wrapping up in a big knitted scarf and a toasty coat. I’ve treated myself to a new Lavenham jacket and I’ve got my eye on some studded ankle boots: OK, so really, I just like any excuse to update my wardrobe!
In the kitchen, my thoughts are turning to dishes with nutty slow cooked mushrooms, cosy stews of chorizo and butterbeans and cakes full of warming spices. I devoured the Fall issue of Sweet Paul magazine published this week, and when I stumbled on this recipe for Walnut Apricot Harvest Loaf, I knew I had to make it.
Life has been pretty hectic around here lately and cooking has taken a bit of back seat, but I set an hour aside for myself yesterday: turned the computer off and focused solely on making this delicious loaf.
Clearly Paul’s pictures do it justice way more than mine do, but it tasted absolutely divine – just like autumn on a plate. My loaf tin was too small to take the mix, so my square one worked fine, although there is something rather lovely about slices of loaf smothered in jam.
Nevertheless, it was comforting, moist and quite savory too, which I really like in a cake. For me there is nothing worse than something so laden with sugar you can’t taste the flavours. The chew of apricots, crunch of walnuts and gentle back notes of warming spices are just the ticket to ease you into autumn with a smile. Go on, make it!
Recipe and picture source: Sweet Paul
August 10, 2011
I really love enamel kitchenware. It feels very practical and utilitarian, but there's something very wholesome and homely about it too. I stumbled across Falcon Enamelware recently, and aside from the lovely collection of enamel pie and baking sets, I was blown away by their great photo styling. It really is in sync with my idea of enamelware and how I imagine it to be used when I eventually get around to acquiring some. What do you think, a love or loathe?
July 1, 2011
I love the idea of developing recipes that will become family favourites for years to come. A stellar brownie recipe has surely got to be part of this arsenal, and you really can't go far wrong with Jamie's Fifteen chocolate brownies. Simple, incredibly chocolately and the canvas for personal tweaks with nuts or dried fruit - delicious.
Last time I made them my friend was a huge fan, so I planned to make them again when she came over last weekend. This time around I wanted to try cutting the sugar (300g) and butter (250g) content as it just seemed so incredibly excessive. To fuel my obsession with Lindt sea salt dark chocolate I also wanted to experiment with the addition of sea salt.
The fact that they disappeared in less than three days, I think shows that both plans were a good call. Although slightly drier than Jamie's gooey version (but definitely not too dry!), I found that reducing the butter and sugar made for a much lighter, less greasy brownie that didn't feel quite so artery-clogging.
After finally deciding to see what all the fuss was about, I purchased some Maldon sea salt last week - and now really believe it is what elevated the brownies to definite family favourite status. It adds a fresh delicate savoury note to the mix, and the flakes have a pleasing crunch which is perfect sprinkled over the cooked brownies. I really hope you'll give them a go.
Sea salt chocolate brownies
Adapted from Jamie Oliver
What you'll need:
- 180g butter
- 200g best quality dark chocolate, broken up
- 80g cocoa powder, sifted
- 65g plain flour, sifted
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 200g caster sugar
- 4 large free-range eggs
- 3 x generous pinches Maldon sea salt
- Optional extras - chopped nuts such as walnuts, pecans or macadamia; dried fruit such as cranberries or sour cherries
What you'll need to do:
1. Pre-heat oven to 180C. Line a 30cm rectangular baking tin with greaseproof paper. In a large bowl over simmering water, melt the butter and chocolate, and mix until smooth. Add the fruit and nuts if using, and set aside to cool slightly.
2. In a separate bowl, mix together the cocoa powder, flour, baking powder, sugar and two generous pinches of salt, then add this to the chocolate mixture and stir together well. Beat the eggs and add to the mixture.
3. Pour mixture into the prepared baking tray and place in the oven for around 25 minutes. The key is to not overcook them - you want them to be firm on the outside and moist in the middle. Allow to cool, then slice into chunky squares and sprinkle with pinch of salt flakes.
May 23, 2011
Morning, hope you've had a great weekend. Ours has been fun and very busy with fine tuning the website, but ended with an unfortunate trip to the minor injuries unit last night (long story involving an exploding hot water bottle, but I'm OK!). Baking bread is one of my favourite things to do at the weekend, and I got up early yesterday to make one of my favourites - focaccia. It's really one of the easiest and most impressive types of bread to make, and one I turn to again and again, to take to dinner parties or just enjoy at home.
There's two recipes that I love - this River Cottage one, and this one from food blog, Lottie and Doof. I couldn't decide which to go for, so ended up combining the two - following the River Cottage recipe (which is slightly simpler), then adding sugar to the mix and topping, and replacing olives with black grapes. It was a good move. Seriously good, in fact I should have doubled the recipe because it's almost gone. An amazing combo of sweet and salty, it's equally delicious with cheese and chilled glass of white wine, or alone with a mug of tea. Yum. OK, I'll stop gushing now, just go make it. You won't regret it.
Grape and rosemary focaccia
Adapted from River Cottage Handbook No.3: Bread by Daniel Stevens
500g strong white bread flour
5g powdered yeast
10g fine sea salt
- 1 1/2 tsp sugar
325ml warm water
About 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus extra for coating
- A generous drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
- A sprinkle of flaky sea salt
- A sprinkle of sugar (demerara works well)
- A couple of rosemary sprigs, leaves stripped and finely chopped
- A couple of handfuls of seedless black grapes
To knead by hand: mix the flour, yeast, salt and water in a bowl to form a sticky dough. Add the oil, mix it in, then turn the dough out on to a clean, floured work surface. Knead until smooth and silky, about 10 minutes.
Or, to use a food mixer: fit the dough hook and add the flour, yeast, salt, sugar and water to the mixer bowl. Mix on a low speed until evenly combined, then add the oil and leave to knead for 10 minutes, until smooth and silky.
Shape the dough into a round and coat with a little extra oil. Leave to rise in a clean bowl, covered with a plastic bag.
When it has doubled in size, tip it on to a clean work surface and press into a rough rectangle. Place in a lightly oiled shallow baking tray, measuring about 26 x 36cm. Press the dough in with your fingers, right into the corners. Now leave to rise, covered, for about 30 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 250°C/Gas Mark 10, or as high as it will go. When the bread looks puffed up and airy, use your finger tips to poke deep holes across the whole surface, almost to the bottom, and distribute grapes in the holes. Drizzle the top generously (but not swimmingly), and sprinkle with salt, sugar and rosemary.
Bake for about 10 minutes, then turn the oven down to about 200°C/Gas Mark 6 and bake for a further 10 minutes - keep an eye on the colour, you want a nice golden brown.
Focaccia is best eaten warm, but not hot; leave to cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack for about 10 minutes before serving, or leave to cool completely.
May 6, 2011
Morning friends, happy Friday! What have you got planned for the weekend? I have a couple of parties so a busy time of eating, drinking and catching up with old friends - my kind of weekend!
While I haven't got time to get in the kitchen, it hasn't stopped me drooling over lots of delicious-sounding recipes I've come across on Pinterest and my fave food blog - What Katie Ate. Pinterest is such a great source of inspiration as it throws up ideas I probably wouldn't think of to search for on a recipe site or food blog, but which suddenly I'm pinning away thinking "i must do this!"
And to be honest, pretty much anything Katie posts on her blog makes me want to immediately get cooking due to her delicious recipes and stunning photographs and styling - and I'm excited to hear she has a book deal.
So these are a selection of the goodies I hope to try very soon - notice the mix of healthy and devilishly calorific, oh well - life's all about balance right?! Have a great weekend whatever you're up to.