The easiest chicken liver pâté

I absolutely adore pâtés, whether coarse or smooth, layered or the same all the way through, and a rich chicken liver pâté, with all its flirtations with retro food, is up there as one of my favourite starters.

This is my easy version that is packed full of flavour and always goes down a storm when I make it. Continue reading “The easiest chicken liver pâté”

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Tea tasting: the filter kettle & the red mug test!

On the back of the fascinating BBC television series “Inside the Factory”, and a particular episode focusing on tea, I was curious about some of the claims in the episode regarding tea:

(1) Tea tastes better using filtered water

(2) Tea tastes sweeter if drank from a red mug, whether or not there is sugar in the tea

Continue reading “Tea tasting: the filter kettle & the red mug test!”

Salted caramel pistachio brittle

This very easy pistachio caramel is not only a great sweet to eat as it is, it so versatile for adorning all manner of cakes and sweet desserts: you just snap off pieces, put them in place and away you go.

Continue reading “Salted caramel pistachio brittle”

Home-made Mascarpone cheese

Using just two ingredients, Mascarpone cheese is so simple to make and tastes better than commercial Mascarpone. And it only costs about one third of the price compared to buying it.

Continue reading “Home-made Mascarpone cheese”

Panzanella: arguably one of the finest salads in the world!

Great food does not need to be at all complicated or time-consuming. Sometimes the combination of humble ingredients can become something quite majestic.

Continue reading “Panzanella: arguably one of the finest salads in the world!”

Gorgonzola, pear & walnut cheesecake (savoury)

Whilst a sweet cheesecake can be a thing of great joy, a savoury one is often even more special for me. The flavours of Gorgonzola, pears and walnuts make a great match at any time and here the sweet juicyness of the pears with the sharp kick of balsamic vinegar work well with the rich tangyness of the cheesecake. Continue reading “Gorgonzola, pear & walnut cheesecake (savoury)”

Spiced crunchy chickpeas

This is a seriously great snack and is particularly ideal to eat on its own, with drinks or to add to salads in place of croutons. These chickpeas are ridiculously moreish: I can eat a whole batch of these quite happily! Continue reading “Spiced crunchy chickpeas”

Cappuccino chocolates

There is always something intensely satisfying about making chocolates, not least because you can have whatever flavours, fillings and adornments you want – and at a fraction of the cost from those you buy from the artisan chocolate shops. Continue reading “Cappuccino chocolates”

6 Baking Mistakes – And How to Fix Them: guest post

I am delighted to publish a guest post from Joe at Village Bakery. focusing on key baking mistakes that can happen, particularly for someone who is new to baking. Continue reading “6 Baking Mistakes – And How to Fix Them: guest post”

The effect of different oven temperatures in baking

While baking is one of the most rewarding aspects of cookery, it can, nonetheless, be frustrating – especially when things do not work. Now things not working can occur when trying out a new recipe for the first time, error with the techniques or even when baking a reliable favourite that has never yet failed……..and then it does! Continue reading “The effect of different oven temperatures in baking”

1-minute smoked mackerel pâté!

This is an incredibly quick but insanely good smoked mackerel pâté, and one I have been making for many many years. It helps to buy the smoked mackerel already boned, but you literally just mix it all together to give the most delicious pâté. Continue reading “1-minute smoked mackerel pâté!”

Quick & easy Cherry, walnut & maple syrup pastries

These are very quick and easy treats: small sweet pastries that are crisp, buttery and wonderfully sticky: quite fabulous served with coffee or tea! Continue reading “Quick & easy Cherry, walnut & maple syrup pastries”

Tips for food photography & “Light”

Before I started blogging, photography never appealed hugely to me, and even once I started this blog, a few quick photographs taken with the iPad to show what the finished bake looked like was enough for me. Continue reading “Tips for food photography & “Light””

Blowtorch baba ghanoush

Baba ghanoush is one of my favourite dips and is hands-down the best use of aubergines for me. It it great with crunchy fresh vegetables or breadsticks and the like to dip into it. Continue reading “Blowtorch baba ghanoush”

Beef & ale Cornish pasties

Having not made pasties in a long while, I felt it time to make a batch. Continue reading “Beef & ale Cornish pasties”

Coloured mirror glazes

As its name suggests, a mirror glaze is a very shiny covering for a cake or dessert that is so reflective you should be able to see your face quite clearly in it. There are several recipes for mirror glazes but I make what I think is one of the simplest – and it always gives me great results. Continue reading “Coloured mirror glazes”

The new Andrew James Chef’s blowtorch: product review

I am a huge fan of kitchen gadgets, but with any prospective gadget, I always try to weight up if it is likely to get used only a few times before being relegated to the back of a cupboard (joining the popcorn maker, milk frother and various others I have amassed over the years….!) Continue reading “The new Andrew James Chef’s blowtorch: product review”

Roasted coffee bean butter: a great ingredient for coffee lovers

I am so excited to share this post for roasted coffee bean butter. Coffee is one of my favourite flavours, almost beating chocolate for me. This butter, which is basically freshly ground coffee beans infused with hot butter, has a very rich, deep coffee flavour that you simply cannot get close to when using either instant coffee or even freshly brewed coffee in a bake. Continue reading “Roasted coffee bean butter: a great ingredient for coffee lovers”

Easy seeded flatbreads with sun-dried tomato hummus

Two incredibly simple things to make that go so well together: a really perfect dip to share as a snack, a starter, part of a picnic…….. Continue reading “Easy seeded flatbreads with sun-dried tomato hummus”

Spiced chicken & asparagus with a fresh courgette & carrot salad

These are two very simple and quick dishes that go so well together: a spicy chicken stir-fry with a refreshing, full-flavoured vegetable salad. They are also very low-fat, as well as being gluten-free. Continue reading “Spiced chicken & asparagus with a fresh courgette & carrot salad”

A sous-vide duck egg brunch!

This was a totally fuss-free brunch: freshly made sourdough (toasted), crispy pancetta and a slowly cooked duck egg, with a few fresh chives snipped over the top. Continue reading “A sous-vide duck egg brunch!”

Sous-vide pork tenderloin on a bed of creamed leeks & chorizo

A no-carb meal (for once!) and an excuse to put the sous-vide machine through its paces with a very simple meal, highlighting the joys of the wonderfully inexpensive pork tenderloin. Continue reading “Sous-vide pork tenderloin on a bed of creamed leeks & chorizo”

Creating a basic recipe index for a food blog

After over two years of blogging my recipes, I have finally got round to doing a full recipe index: something I have been meaning to do for ages! Continue reading “Creating a basic recipe index for a food blog”

The easiest & quickest smoked mackerel pâté in the world!

This is an insanely simple and almost instant smoked mackerel pâté that is seriously big on flavour – perfect spread liberally on hot toast or eaten with a baguette as part of a light snack. Continue reading “The easiest & quickest smoked mackerel pâté in the world!”

Gooseberry chutney

This is my very simple recipe for gooseberry chutney made on this occasion with some frozen red gooseberries I had picked last year.

Continue reading “Gooseberry chutney”

Baking Heaven Magazine

Baking Heaven Magazine is a terrific baking magazine: each issue has such a wide range of stunning recipes and baking tips from a variety of inspiring bakers. Perfect to thumb through and drool at the pictures, but I defy you not to get out the scales and get baking! Continue reading “Baking Heaven Magazine”

Piccalilli: a prince among preserves!

Piccalilli is one of my favourite preserves and making a batch late summer is something of an annual ritual that I always look forward to. Continue reading “Piccalilli: a prince among preserves!”

Absolute Spice: product review & recipe ideas

I love focusing on flavour in my bakes; flavour is by far the key consideration when I am baking, whether I am recreating a favourite bake or working on a new idea. And excellent quality ingredients are always my priority. Continue reading “Absolute Spice: product review & recipe ideas”

Cheese & onion sourdough crumpets

These particular crumpets arose from an idea that came to me late one night – as is often the way! Continue reading “Cheese & onion sourdough crumpets”

Easy sourdough crumpets

I am of the belief that a hot crumpet, slathered with butter, perhaps with some excellent quality jam, is one of life’s greatest foodie pleasures. Continue reading “Easy sourdough crumpets”

Salted caramel pretzel rocky road

A rocky road is a very guilty pleasure of mine – one of many, admittedly! It is very rich (and rightly so) but moreish. It is also one of the easiest things to make and can be varied in so many ways. Continue reading “Salted caramel pretzel rocky road”

Rough-puff pastry & other laminated pastries

I have been excited by laminated pastries ever since I was a boy, watching my gran make up batches. I love the process of achieving those buttery, light layers that melt in the mouth, especially with rough-puff pastry, a much simpler cousin to puff pastry. In this post I give the recipe for a fool-proof rough-puff pastry, along with recipe ideas for using the pastry. Continue reading “Rough-puff pastry & other laminated pastries”

Chorizo & fennel sausage rolls in a spiced rough-puff pastry

Rather than go for full-on chorizo sausages encased in pastry I added some finely chopped chorizo to the sausagemeat filling that I always use for my sausage rolls. Now I love chorizo, but not in hefty quantities you would have if you just encased chorizo in pastry! Continue reading “Chorizo & fennel sausage rolls in a spiced rough-puff pastry”

The simplest, quickest sourdough flatbreads in about 20 minutes!

When you feed a sourdough starter, you discard some of the starter so that you can top the remaining starter with more water and flour: that way you get a fairly constant volume of starter rather than having litres of it in many containers all over the place! Continue reading “The simplest, quickest sourdough flatbreads in about 20 minutes!”

Raspberry cascade cake

With baking I am a firm believer that simplicity, done well, can often give the best results. And while I occasionally go for over-the-top-looking creation with cakes, for me it really is flavour that is has to be at the heart of the cake: after all, once a cake has been cut into and has lost some of the visual appeal, you want the flavour to carry on the joy. Continue reading “Raspberry cascade cake”

The joys of a food dehydrator: “Andrew James” product review & tips

I was very lucky to have received an Andrew James food dehydrator for Christmas. Talk about being deliriously over the moon about this gift!

Continue reading “The joys of a food dehydrator: “Andrew James” product review & tips”

A very special Rich Fruit cake

This is an easy fruit cake to make, taking minutes to mix together once the fruits have been soaked. It has bags of flavour, with a nice level of spice and little bursts of moist fruit inside. This fruit cake is suitable for any time of the year, not just at Christmas. Continue reading “A very special Rich Fruit cake”

Elmbridge Food Festival & my first cake decorating demo!

Wow! My 2nd visit to the annual Elmbridge Food Festival, held at the glorious Painshill Park, Surrey. This time, with me as giving a demonstration. Continue reading “Elmbridge Food Festival & my first cake decorating demo!”

A new camera…and musings on food gallery sites

 

I have had my first DSLR camera (a Nikon D3200) for just over a week: my ipad doesn’t take great pics and my old camera died on me, so needs must!  I am having fun getting to grips with it, and not being the most techie or photo-aware of people, I like how easy it is to use for a novice like me in terms of the basics. Continue reading “A new camera…and musings on food gallery sites”

Mini lemon & clotted cream scones

As I have mentioned in many of my posts, I adore small-scale bakes and any bake that relates to Afternoon Tea (my favourite type of treat) immediately piques my interest. Continue reading “Mini lemon & clotted cream scones”

Chilli Jam

This is one of the easiest preserves to make and it tastes wonderful.I always make a large batch towards late summer once the chillies are ready in the greenhouse. It is a great way to use up a glut of ripe tomatoes, but this chilli jam works very well using tinned tomatoes. Continue reading “Chilli Jam”

Roasted onion & smoked cheese scones (gluten-free)

Returning to my savoury roots, and it seems a while since I have posted a savoury recipe, I decided to make some cheese and onion scones, using roasted onion and smoked Cheddar cheese. Continue reading “Roasted onion & smoked cheese scones (gluten-free)”

Bread & butter pickles: spicy, sweet cucumbers

Preserves are terrific partners for good bakes, and these sweet, spiced and crunchy cucumbers are very easy and quick to make. Essentially these are sliced cucumbers, bathing happily in a sweetened and spiced vinegar. Continue reading “Bread & butter pickles: spicy, sweet cucumbers”

Whitworths Blogging Event: fruiting, chatting, baking & tiffin!

I was invited to my first food-related blogging event in London, organised by Whitworths and held at Venturis Table in London. It happened to be held on my birthday, so what better way to spend a birthday than with a fun event such as this. Continue reading “Whitworths Blogging Event: fruiting, chatting, baking & tiffin!”

Chouxnuts 2: chocolate & cherry flavour

I made a savoury version of these deep-fried choux pastry doughnuts a while ago (recipe here) but this time I felt like going down the sweet route. I always have jars of dried cherries, some macerating in Amaretto and some in other liqueurs, and there is always chocolate to be found around the kitchen(!!), so a chocolate-cherry version was called for. Continue reading “Chouxnuts 2: chocolate & cherry flavour”

“Grow your own”: introducing Pumpkin Beth

Being fortunate to have an allotment has influenced many of my bakes: I am always trying to come up with different ways to use the produce, especially any gluts. Mind you, a simple fruit crumble, a roasted vegetable pie or a home-made preserve with some good cheese and bread often hits the spot. But baking with the seasons is a natural and satisfying thing to do. Continue reading ““Grow your own”: introducing Pumpkin Beth”

Tips for making & decorating cakes

Cake should never be eaten with any hint of guilt whatsover. Even when it comes to deciding that you want another slice…..

This post gives key tips for making several types of cake successfully, along with recipes for cakes and icings, troubleshooting and general ideas for decorating. I have also given the quantities needed to make a Victoria Sandwich cake for different sized tins. Continue reading “Tips for making & decorating cakes”

Bakingfanatic: one year on

I cannot believe how quickly a year has passed since I started my blog! Primarily a way for me to organise the many recipes I have created over the years, my blog rapidly became a significant and exciting part of my life: I love to write about food and even though I have uploaded just over 100 of my own recipes, they are just the tip of the iceberg! Continue reading “Bakingfanatic: one year on”

Hobbit House Cake

Combining two of my favourite things: cake and Tolkien! This cake is a hobbit house with its garden and part of the lake. A bountiful feast of fruit and vegetables including radishes, turnips, watermelons, cabbages, cauliflower and carrots might keep the hobbit going for a couple of meals! Continue reading “Hobbit House Cake”

Crab Cakes

A moreish and very easy recipe for crab cakes that I put together while thinking of ways of using up some white crabmeat. I added various ingredients that were at hand for these crab cakes and despite some strong flavours in the mixture, the sweet flavour of the crab shines through – as indeed it should! Continue reading “Crab Cakes”