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Welcome to my world of home baking: it is very much a world in which the challenges of the outside world are left firmly at the kitchen door! Please feel free to peruse and dip in and out as casually as you want!

Exciting and always relaxing, I find baking to be the best way to lift my spirits at any time; it never fails to put a smile on my face and no matter how many times I have baked something either from my repertoire of favourites, or if I am working on a new recipe, each bake means something very special to me.

Smoked Haddock Tarts

Smoked Haddock Tarts

As well as the thrill of planning each bake, the excitement begins in earnest as soon as I weight out the ingredients. A terrific sense of occasion is always with me, whether I am baking something quick and simple or something more challenging. And how can words do justice to that buzz of anticipation as the enticing aromas come from the oven and the oven door is about to be opened?

pineapple coconut macarons (2)

Pineapple and coconut macarons: macarons are an important part of my baking repertoire.

Having so many scribblings on bits of paper and on various files on the computer with no particular sense of organisation, I felt it time to put my ideas and my favourite recipes – all of which I have either created myself or have tweaked – into one central place; hence this blog.

Walnut & Raisin Sourdough

Walnut & Raisin Sourdough

In a bid to organise things further – I can’t help it; it’s the teacher in me! -  I have added key pages to highlight my particular loves within the world of baking, and a recipe collection of the recipes that feature in my posts (to be honest, it helps me find things I am looking for rather than trawl through scraps of paper and the like!): a drop-down menu appears when the cursor is hovered over Recipes at the top of the page, or else can be found in the recipe index on the right, with the recipes ordered loosely by type of bake.

Shrimp and Crab Vol-au-vents

Vol-au-vents: puff pastry is my favourite of all of the pastries.

Baking is an important aspect of my life and while I would love to bake professionally, my baking does fit in with the busy and highly rewarding life of a teacher! In fact, no matter how busy things are in a typical week at school, I am always thinking of ideas for the next bake.

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Cupcakes: I need little excuse to pander to my flamboyant streak!

One of my underlying aims in baking is to make and, dare I say, improve upon anything that can be bought; preferring to use locally sourced and home-grown ingredients as much as possible, I like to have complete control over what goes into my food, not to mention the flavour, cost and personal satisfaction benefits.

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Pork pie with pistachio, apricot and quail eggs

And always there is the thrill of just what can be achieved with relatively few ingredients and achieved quite simply – for baking does not need to be complicated or hugely time-consuming; it can be, and the more difficult bakes that take many hours often ticks the box for me, but it does not need to be!

Cheese Ham Danish

Savoury danish pastries: one of my signature bakes using laminated dough.

Of all the things I bake, pastry and bread are my greatest loves; I haven’t bought bread and pastry for many years, opting to make my own. I have a particular penchant towards sourdoughs but I love baking any type of bread. I am currently trying to bake my way through as many different types of bread as I can find.

Sourdough loaves

Sourdough loaves: even a no-frills sourdough is a baking event!

I have long been fascinated with laminated doughs; freshly baked croissants that shatter as you bite into them, giving way to a buttery honeycomb interior, form my ideal breakfast – especially when eaten with home-made strawberry jam and freshly ground coffee.

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Croissants: a breakfast treat!

In recent years I have developed a love of macarons and I often bake batches of these sweet treats, many of which find their way quite willingly into the mouths of friends and colleagues – my trusted testers!

My first macaron tower: pineapple&coconut, strawberry, coffee, pistachio&vanilla, bkackcurrant

Macaron tower: pineapple & coconut, strawberry, coffee, pistachio & vanilla, blackcurrant

The frequency with which I make up laminated doughs, make macarons and bake breads has prompted me to have an additional freezer in the garage that is devoted to them: many people might indulge in top-of-the-range televisions or luxury cars, but my extra freezer will do me fine as an extravagance!

I’m very much an admirer of Afternoon Tea; although it is an occasional treat rather than a frequent affair, Afternoon Tea (the full works!) is, and rightly so, an event in its own right. And there is nothing like an Afternoon Tea to create a real sense of occasion and give a warm satisfaction as you tuck into the treasure trove of goodies on offer.

Afternoon Tea

An Afternoon Tea I prepared: one of my greatest loves

I also love making and decorating cakes; each time I offer up my creations to others I aim for my cakes to scream “eat me”! And there are few greater feelings of pride to be had than when a cake is devoured happily by others.

My Wedding Cake

I love creating simple cake designs with the emphasis very much on flavour. This was one of two cakes I created for my Civil Partnership

My ramblings and my recipes also flirt with other areas of cooking that appeal to me. Key among these is preserving: home-made chutneys and mouth-wateringly crunchy pickled shallots can not only lift the humble bread and cheese snack to dizzying heights of food delight, they are a perfect accompaniment to an endless number of cold savouries. And I could not be without a dollop or two of home-made jam with just-warmed croissants!

 

Chocolate teacakes

Chocolate teacakes: a great way of using home-made jam – as if I need any excuse to work with chocolate!

In the gallery section are images of my favourite things to make, and my recipes and my comments for these can be found on this blog. One of my key aims, however, would be to publish my recipes and associated ramblings in a book….one day!

Gorgonzola & Pear Sourdough

Gorgonzola & Pear Sourdough (front)

Happy baking!

Contact me

13 comments

  1. your website is cool. The next time I do baking I’m using your website.
    From your niece Jodie xxxxx

    1. Thank you, Jodie. We must do another baking session via Skype and then bake some things when I am next visiting

  2. I’ve been dipping into your blog for ages and keep finding new things to entice me in. Great commentary with your recipes and I love the pics of what you’ve baked even though I shouldn’t look at them when I’m hungry

    1. Thank you. Yes, looking at food when hungry is always a fun thing :)

  3. chocoholic · · Reply

    amazing recipes and photos.

    1. Thank you

  4. Wow! Your recipes & blog are so impressive! I love baking but I have to say pastry still makes me very nervous! I would love to get this good!

    1. Yes pastry can take some getting your head around but go for it. It’s a lot to do with the mindset when it comes to pastry. And having very cool hands in a cool kitchen! But choux pastry is a good one to start with: it is one of the easiest and most forgiving pastries – not to mention impressive to serve up.

  5. Kneadthedough · · Reply

    quite honestly I could just look at your pictures all day. You really know how to put across your love of baking with your photos, and your writing style makes for great reading

    1. Thank you very much. Just about getting the hang of the photographs

  6. uncle mike · · Reply

    Pork pie with pistachio, apricot and quail eggs i hate you phil:)

  7. Very impressive all round. I love baking your recipes-some great ideas

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