Welcome!

Unless otherwise stated, all photos are taken by me & the recipes are either my own or my twist on classic recipes

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Welcome to my world of home baking: a world in which the challenges of the outside world and any feelings of food guilt are left firmly at the kitchen door! 

You are most warmly welcome to dip in and out as casually as you want. Whether you are starting out on your baking adventure or are well seasoned, I hope you will get ideas for bakes and discover a few interesting or different bakes along the way.

This blog

Over the years I have scribbled so many recipe ideas on bits of paper and in the back of books, so I felt it time to put these ideas and recipes into a blog.

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 bakes can be created.

I have given full guidelines and step-by-step instructions for techniques needed for pastries, cakes and bread, among others, at this link: key baking tips

The joy of baking

Baking is seriously great therapy. It has been of huge importance in my life on so many occasions when I have needed an escape, and it never fails to make me happy.

As soon as I step into the kitchen ready to start a bake, I get this wonderful feeling of everything being well with the world. Baking always fills me with a sense of occasion and every bake, whether simple or complex, means something very special.

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?

But although there is much pleasure when baking for others, there is always something extra special when you get eat other people’s bakes: I often think food tastes better when someone else has made them.

Random baking 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 bake 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 baking of just what can be achieved with relatively few ingredients and achieved quite simply.

Baking does not need to be complicated or hugely time-consuming; it can be, of course, and the more challenging bakes that take more time and focus are sometimes just what is need to unwind (or even get totally lost in a glorious world of baking), but it does not need to be.

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 baking

Of all the things I bake, 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 cakes 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.

Baking and other 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 bakes such as macarons, bread, pastry and cakes.

Indulgence in moderation!

Despite a lot of my recipes containing what some would say are naughty ingredients (cream, butter, sugar……), they are not necessarily the sort of bakes you would eat all the time: I will probably only have a rich 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 bakes

I like to re-bake 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.

Fortunately there are many great blogs that celebrate healthier food, with a key emphasis on flavour. After all, baking 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!

The moment I bite into something that just has healthy ingredients but with no sense of joy or excitement, (and I’ve made quite a few things in my time that fit into that category!) is the moment my heart sinks in despair…….you need a hefty whack of indulgence in some form – otherwise, why bother?

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

Happy baking.

Key links

Recipe index
Baking techniques

Twitter:

Instagram

Advertisements

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

    Like

    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.

      Like

  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

    Like

  3. Hi Philip,
    Saw your wonderful three cake recipes in the Sainsbury’s Magazine. They look just amazing and I will give them try and hope they’ll turn out as beautiful as yours! 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

    Like

    1. Hi Evi, thank you for your very kind words. I hope you enjoy making (and eating) my Sainsbury’s bakes. I look forward to enjoying your bakes on Instagram. Regards, Philip

      Like

  4. Hi Philip, I’ve just read the article about you in this month’s Sainsbury’s Magazine and was moved to read your blog. Wow! It’s all very inspiring. 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

    Like

    1. Hi Gill.Thank you so much for your kind words. I am glad you liked the article and the recipes in Sainsbury’s Magazine: it was very exciting to do.
      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

      Like

  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

    Like

  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.

    Like

    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

    Like

  8. I saw some of your recipes in Sainsburys magazine and 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!

    Like

    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

      Like

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

    Like

  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.

    Like

  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!

    Like

  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!

    Like

    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

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s