Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Liebster Award

A while ago, Elisabeth Bell over at Everyday is Yummy nominated me for a Liebster Award. I was so chuffed as I still find it strange that people I don;t know read my blog, let alone that they might enjoy doing so! It's taken me far too long to blog about this and pass it on but I am very proud to be writing this post.

The Rules of the Liebster Award:

•Link back to the person who gave it to you and thank them.
•Post the award to your blog.
•Give the award to five bloggers with less than 200 followers who you appreciate and value (please do not be offended by this, I don’t think you have less than 200 followers I am sending on some blog love because I think your blog is great!)
•Let your award winners know!

So these are the blogs that have inspired me and I want to pass on the award to:

Jessica Eats (Food) is a blog written by a student studying French at Warwick University. I was introduced to this blog by my sister who is friends with Jess. Jess' posts are a mixture of restaurant reviews and details of her own cooking adventures. She spent the last year in France as part of her degree and I was amazed at what she achieved without a kitchen!

I think I discovered this great blog on twitter and only later realised that she works for Fair Cake, a company that runs cake courses and which I discovered and fell in love with a couple of years ago when my baking addiction was relatively young. Emine is not only a wonderful baker but also a fantastic photographer and beautifully captures the fruits of her labour.

Adventures of a pastry apprentice I discovered this blog after recently being paired with Emma for Foodie Pen Pals (see previous blog post for more details about foodie pen pals). Emma has just finished an NVQ as a pastry chef and is working in a bakery. To me this is the perfect life. Her baking creations look wonderful and I'm sure they taste just as good. I'm completely in awe of how much she gets done as well as having 3am weekend starts at the bakery!

Blue Kitchen Bakes
I dicscovered Jen's blog through baking challenges run on blogs and through Twitter. She bakes a lot of bread which is something I really want to do more of but also conjures up some wonderful, cakes, biscuits, tarts and even souffles!

The Mixing Bowl
My blog namesake and yet another blog with beautiful photographs (I need to get these talented people to photograph my bakes!) Maria posts recipes and great baking tips. She also writes boook reviews of cook books which I think is a great idea!

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Coffee and Cream Cupcakes

I had quite a bit of cream left over from the eclairs and so decided to use the little gadget that Elisabeth over at Everyday is Yummy sent me in my first Foodie Pen Pals package. This little tool makes it much easier and neater to fill cakes and do you know what's better than a cupcake? A cupcake with a surprise in the middle!

I made coffee cupcakes then once they had cooled I took out the centre and poured in a teaspoon of cooled coffee. I then filled with vanilla cream and put the top back on the centre. Ideally I think I would top with a chocolate ganache but I didn't have any chocolate in the cupboard so I flavoured some cream with cocoa powder and used that instead.

They were once again devoured by the office except for one which was my breakfast after a particularly late night which has proved devasting to my diet! Coffee cake is a perfectly acceptable breakfast because it's basically just coffee and a pastry rolled into one!

Tuesday, 3 July 2012


When Fleur over at Homemade By Fleur tweeted a picture of her gorgeous strawberry and cream eclairs I was inspired. I'd never made choux pastry before and eclairs have always looked too difficult for a mere mortal like me to make.

However, Fleur persuaded me to make them so I rose to the challenge and got up early last Saturday to make them for a barbeque in the afternoon. I researched a few recipes and began to worry over the amount of eggs and use of milk. In the end I turned to my Baking Bible and put my trust in Mrs Berry. I was really surprised at how choux pastry is made and how easy it is. You heat butter and water in a pan, bring to the boil then add flour. You add the eggs and pipe out when cool ready to bake. There seem to be various opinions on when to leave the mixture to cool, how long to bake them for and when to pierce the eclairs.

I'm not a fan of plain cream so I sweetened it icing sugar and vanilla essence. Fleur topped hers with white chocolate but I had milk chocolate in the cupbaord so I opted for a more traditional eclair and then drizzled melted dark chocolate over them. I was very pleased with the end result and they disappeared very quickly! The sweetened cream was definitely nicer and the strawberries are very appropriate what with the sunshining (it was, I promise - very briefly!) and the Wimbledon season in full swing.

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Foodie Pen Pals - June

My foodie pen pal for this month was Laura Henderson who blogs over at Aga Girls. Laura works near me so she hand delivered my parcel which for some reason made it even more exciting!

A very pretty package arrived at my office about a week ago and made my day :)It was full of homemade goodies: a lemon cake, honey, chutney and jams/jellies.

The cake went down very well and this is what was left of it by the time I managed to charge my camera!It had a gorgeous crunchy sugary topping and was delicious with some yoghurt.

As you can see I have also been making my way through the honey rather rapidly. I absolutely love honey, not only is it great to cook with but honey toast is a wonderfully simple and delicious breakfast. Laura told me that it is made by her parents and it's delicious!

It was really lovely to have a parcel full of homemade food, chutneys and jams are something that I really want to try making myself.