Welcome!

Unless otherwise stated, the recipes are either my own or are my twists on classic recipes.

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A warm welcome to my kitchen: a world in which the challenges of the outside world and any feelings of food guilt are left firmly at the kitchen door!

Please dip in and out as casually as you want and whether you are starting out on your food adventures or are well seasoned, I hope this blog will give you some ideas and help you discover a few interesting dishes along the way.

This website

The idea of my own website had been bouncing around in my head for ages after a chance conversation with a friend during Afternoon Tea…I often have meaningful conversations over Afternoon Tea!

She suggested that as I have so many recipes jotted down on bits of paper and tucked away in the back of cookery books, was it not a good idea to organise them in some way?

So one day I had a few hours to kill and thought “Why not give it a go?”……..and the beginnings of this website was born!

A bias towards baking

I love to cook anything, but baking features heavily in my cooking repertoire; on so many occasions when I have needed an escape it has never failed to make me happy; as soon as I step into the kitchen, I get this wonderful feeling of everything being well with the world. 

I suppose it can be said that baking is essentially a type of therapy for me. 

The recipes

The recipes, unless otherwise stated, are my own – apart from the classic base recipes for the standard types of pastries, cakes and the like, which are an important starting point from which many exciting dishes can be created.

I am gradually re-photographing my earlier recipes on this website, in which the photos look somewhat uninteresting to say the least – any excuse to eat some of those dishes again!

I am certainly no expert, and I most definitely have my off, or even very off days – even with dishes that I often make with no issues at all: mind you, this is normally when I rush, rather than what I prefer to be a leisurely and relaxed amble in my kitchen!

Top tips

I have given tips and step-by-step instructions (it’s the teacher in me!) for techniques needed for pastries, cakes and bread, among others, at this link: Top Tips!

Random recipe ideas!

I often wake up in the night with an idea (often a mad idea, sometimes a more plausible idea) and I then scribble down some thoughts onto paper: I always have a pad by my bed for just this reason!

And if the idea doesn’t quite work out first time, I love tweaking the idea until I am happy with it.

Simplicity often rules!

There is always the thrill in cooking of just what can be achieved with relatively few ingredients and achieved quite simply.

Cooking does not need to be complicated or hugely time-consuming; it can be, of course, and the more challenging dishes that take more time and focus are sometimes just what is need to unwind.

Often, just grazing on a few simple things that are easy to throw together can be just as satisfying as a more full-on meal!

My greatest loves in cooking

Of all the things I make, breads and pastries are my greatest loves, being the ultimate in comfort food for me. They never fail to evoke happy memories and I particularly love the fact that you can make great things using very few ingredients – often with just what is lying around the fridge and the cupboards. 

And a slice of simple home-made bread, toasted and buttered, is a very satisfying thing to eat!

For decades I have been fascinated by 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.

I love working on savoury variations with laminated doughs, both yeasted (croissant dough) and without yeast (puff & rough-puff pastry).

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, although I have been experimenting with savoury macarons, which are becoming a staple canapé for me: the mixture of sweet and savoury notes can, with the right fillings, create a stunning taste explosion.

I’m very much an admirer of Afternoon Tea which is a food event in its own right: 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.

For me, Afternoon Tea is like being a child again, waking up on Christmas morning, eyes lighing up as you delve into inviting packages in front of you! I love experiencing and preparing more unusual Afternoon Teas, and an Afternoon Tea with a more savoury slant is perfection for me!

Although savoury food is my preference when it comes to eating (well, excluding anything chocolatey!), I love making and decorating cakes: the cutting of a cake to be shared with others is a terrific social joy.

While the simplicity and taste of a Victoria Sandwich, for example, is hard to beat, I aim for my more elaborate cake attempts to scream “eat me”, but my primary goal is for the flavour to shine.

Other cooking treats

My recipes and my general food ramblings on this blog 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 a simple snack of bread and cheese to dizzying heights of food delight, they are a perfect accompaniment to an endless number of cold and hot savouries.

And I could not be without a dollop or two of home-made jam with warm croissants!

My recipes can be found via the Recipe Index at the top of the page, along with my detailed guides for perfecting areas such as macarons, bread, pastry and cakes.

Indulgence in moderation!

Perhaps oddly, given the plethora of cakes and other sweet treats on this blog, I don’t actually have a hugely sweet tooth (apart from macarons and chocolate!): savoury is my weakness, but it is usually sweet treats that I make for friends and family.

Although a lot of my recipes contain what some would say are naughty ingredients (cream, butter, sugar……), they are not necessarily the sort of things you would eat all the time: I will probably only have a cake in the house once every few weeks.

And butter-laden pastries are very much an occasional treat.

But what is life without wicked treats?

Healthier dishes

I like to re-make some of my favourites with a healthier slant, but only if the healthier version can stand up to the original – and I love this creative challenge. After all, cooking and eating should be pleasurable, and healthier food can and really must taste good: those dull “healthy eats” that are hard work to actually chew, let alone enjoy, have no place in my mouth!

Whatever your baking and cooking interests are, enjoy the making, the eating, the experimenting and the sharing.

Happy cooking,

Philip

Key links

Recipe index
Top Tips!

 

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79 thoughts on “Welcome!”

  1. 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

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    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.

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  2. 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

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  3. Hi Philip,
    I am a German home bread baker and my husband and I love to spend our holidays in Britain. We are keen followers of the GBBO and it was indeed Paul Hollywood who inspired me to bake bread. I have moved on and learned a lot about bread and sour doughs from some fantastic German bloggers specialising in bread – Plötzblog and Brotdoc.
    Happy to have found a great British baking blogger now! I do not blog myself but put up photos of my breads and cakes on Instagram under Marie Nitzenplitz.
    Well, enough now I don’t want to tire you. Looking forward to browse your blog!!
    Warmest wishes
    Evi

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  4. Hi Philip, I love cooking/ baking (and eating, of course). My old man and I have just got back from France and I can never get over the sensational patisserie that you get over there – even the smallest village has its own patisserie and the cakes are so beautiful – made with such obvious love – but they taste wonderful too.
    I’ve tried making macarons – yours looked perfect – but I haven’t been able to achieve that professional finish.
    As an ex- (now retired) teacher, I can’t help thinking your pupils must love ‘Sir’ – especially if he teaches them how to bake as well as maths.
    Great stuff, Philip. And thanks for the blog.
    Gill

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    1. Hi Gill.Thank you so much for your kind words.
      Do have another go at macarons: they are so rewarding and when “it works” it is a wonderful feeling (having had SO many disasters with them initially!!).
      Teaching is a wonderful thing to do: and the odd “cake eating lesson” and baking sessions with my 6th formers is fun to have! I hope you are enjoying your retirement. Warm wishes, Philip

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  5. such a treasure trove of exciting bakes and helpful tips. I,ve been regularly looking at your blog for ideas and guidance and love how it has developed hugely over the past year

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  6. Oh Philip this is such a resource of great baking info. I have bookmarked several of your pages that I keep returning to and I always love to see your new posts.

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    1. thank you Jeanne. I made your chicken parmesan the other day – a gorgeous dish.The pumpkin sourdough pancakes are next (got a lot of the starter to be used – always such a shame to discard it)

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Phil – the wedding cake you made for us was absolutely divine! Thank you. Everyone devoured it with gusto, and is most jealous that we may get to try your future creations. Wonderful baking. Fact. X

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  8. I checked out your blog- it is awesome! I adapted your ‘chocolate collar’ for one of my cakes and it went down a treat, everyone was super impressed! Keep blogging!

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    1. thank you Claire. I hope you have found some recipes to try out. Apologies for the delay in responding – I only just got you message popping up. Regards

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  9. thank you for the recipes and your baking tips. I can now make macarons really well after so many horror stories with them

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  10. I came following a comment on that lovely comedy, Ladies of Letters, when Vera mentioned she was making an Arctic roll. Over here in the U.S. I’d never heard of one (although being a big fan of British cookbooks, especially the ones that concentrate on Afternoon Tea), so I typed in the term, thinking it would be some awful fish thing (Vera not being my idea of a “good” cook). I was pleasantly surprised to find it is a dessert, and your cherry version looks scrumptious and so do the rest of your recipes.

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  11. I recently discovered your web site and think it is amazing! I have tried at least four recipes since I found you 6 days ago (!!) and love the ideas. The trouble is every time I come here I find MORE that I want to make. Thank you so much!

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  12. I’ve just stumbled across your wonderful blog after Googling a recipe. It’s absolutely amazing, like a very up-market Aladdin’s cave, a foodie paradise with pictures! I’ve cooked, baked and created for many years myself, and one of my favourite possessions is my late grandmother’s recipe book, which includes not only her own recipes in her very distinctive, almost copperplate hand, but those from others such as my great aunt and my Mum – and there’s even one from me, aged seven (and I’m now 60!). I just wanted to say thank you, for your incredible generosity in creating, updating and maintaining such a beautiful yet user-friendly resource. In the words of Mr Schwarzenegger, ‘I’ll be back’ … frequently from now on!

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    1. Gosh, thank you SO much for your very lovely words. Seriously, they really perked up my weekend. I share your excitement over handed-down recipes: there is something quite magical with those recipes, as well as a desire to always do them justice. Please do pop back again and again, as you are most welcome, and I very much look forward to meeting you on here. With very best wishes, Philip

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