Category General

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 […]

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. The pâté is delightfully coarse, unashamedly rustic, but for a fish 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! Measurements not essential here! For pastries such as these, whether sweet or savoury, I confess that I do not measure out the filling ingredients; I just sprinkle over enough to give a light covering […]

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. However, I soon got to appreciate the power of effective food photography and so I started to spend more […]

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. I used the terrific Andrew James Chef’s Blowtorch to do the bulk of the work: the charring of the vegetables – […]

Beef & ale Cornish pasties

Having not made pasties in a long while, I felt it time to make a batch. With this recipe I made a few tweaks to the classic pasty for personal preference: the pastry: I have gone for rough-puff pastry, but this time with the inclusion of a little lard as part of the fat content […]

Coloured Mirror glazes: as simple or as elaborate as you want…..

NB: while some of these attempts are practices done on a flat surface, the spiced orange & rum cake, the Purple Rain coffee and rum cake, the blood orange & raspberry cake and the planet cake are real cakes. I will post recipes for these in due course, but feel free to contact me in the meantime about […]

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….!) However, […]

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 […]

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…….. The hummus is made in seconds and will keep for a few days, covered, in the fridge. The bread can also me made in advance and frozen if preferred: […]

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. Now I love indulgent food (in moderation) and I really loathe the sort of healthier food that is in any way boring, tasteless and/or insubstantial. […]

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. A nice walk while the eggs were gently cooking in their water bath, returning to a perfectly cooked egg epitomises relaxed bliss! Sous-vide at home! I used the […]

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. As it is a very lean meat, pork tenderloin is prone to drying out when it is cooking and can rapidly go from under-done to […]

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! Admittedly, is not the most dynamic recipe index compared to many amazing ones I have seen on food blogs, but it does the job for now…….And new recipes slot into this […]

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. The pickled gherkins are quite wonderful in here and really lift the pâté somewhat: I tend use use the sliced […]

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. It makes a great accompaniment to cold meats, cheese, smoked fish, to name just a few. It is sharp, buy with a nice level of sweetness. I also use it in my […]

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! It was, therefore, an honour to […]

Piccalilli: a prince among preserves!

Post updated August 2016: photos of new batch added 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. A good piccalilli should have crunchy, identifiable vegetables in a fairly thick sauce. The sauce should be almost velvety in texture […]

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. I was very fortunate to have received some spices from Absolute Spice and I cannot stop using them! In fact […]

Cheese & onion sourdough crumpets

These particular crumpets arose from an idea that came to me late one night – as is often the way! While I adore crumpets that are toasted and eaten with butter and jam (surely one of life’s foodie pleasures?), I love savoury flavours, and so a batch of cheese and onion crumpets called out loudly to […]

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. These are very simple crumpets, that are also relatively quick to make if you have an active sourdough starter: a batch can be made in about an hour. If you […]

Salted caramel pretzel rocky road

Post updated: June 2016 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. I made this take on rocky road with ingredients that […]

Rough-puff pastry & other laminated pastries

Introduction The differences between rough-puff and puff pastries Types of turn: book & envelope Flavour additions to the pastry Top tips for laminated pastry Recipe for rough-puff pastry (with photographs of each stage) Introduction I have always been excited by laminated pastries ie) rich, buttery and light pastries with many wafer-thin layers; the process of […]

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

Updated April 2016: variation using fennel powder in the pastry and the filling. 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 […]

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! Waste-not, want-not! The discarding always seems something of a waste, […]

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

I was very lucky to have received an Andrew James food dehydrator that some friends bought me for Christmas: a food dehydrator is a gadget I had been thinking about owning for a while, primarily with a view to making my own fruit and vegetable powders (I will come to these in a moment!), but also to have […]

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 brandy in the many dried fruits inside. This fruit cake is suitable for any time of the year, not just at Christmas. Whilst I […]

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, however, on top of enjoying the many delights of the Festival, I had two additional thrills: I was able to assist on the Clandestine Cake Club stall I gave a cake demonstration session on the Sunday. […]

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 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 […]

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. The recipe for these scones has been donated by Whitworths as part of the Whitworths Baking Challenge, although I have made a few variations. These lemon-flavoured […]

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. A versatile […]

Roasted onion & smoked cheese scones

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. This is a very rustic bake, and no apologies will come from me regarding that! They are also very easy to make and are […]

Bread & butter pickles: spicy, sweet cucumbers

Good preserves are terrific partners for good bakes, and these sweet, spiced cucumbers are very easy to make. And it is always exciting to pop open a new jar of preserves, especially in the winter months, with that evocative taste of the summer you immediately get. What’s in a name? Whatever you want to call these […]

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. It was a thrill not only to do bake in a terrific kitchen and […]

Chouxnuts 2: chocolate & cherry flavour

I made a savoury version of these deep-fried choux pastry doughnuts a while ago (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 […]

“It’s a Baking Thing”: their top 10 baking blogs

The wonderful folk at It’s a Baking Thing have selected 10 of their favourite baking blogs, and I am delighted to be in their list. What a lovely surprise and such an honour. I have been following all of these blogs – plus many others – for some time: well, apart from my own….surely it would be […]

Say it with biscuits with Biscuiteers Biscuit Company

This Valentine’s Day, why not tell a loved one how much they mean to you with biscuits? Not just any biscuits but top quality, hand-made and personalised biscuits from Biscuiteers Biscuit Company, that taste amazing. It is my pleasure to draw your attention to my friends at Biscuiteers, the award-winning bespoke bakery who create biscuits, […]

“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 […]

Bakingfanatic’s 2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog. Here’s an excerpt: The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 36,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 13 sold-out performances for that many […]

Tips for making, flavouring & decorating cakes

Updated January 2017 Sections in this post: Less is often more! Flavour must come first The amount of ingredients needed for different sized tins (Victoria sponge) About cupcake sponges Flavouring a cake mixture Preparing the tins Baking the cakes Flavouring a baked cake Different types of icing: glacé, buttercreams; adding flavours to buttercreams; crumb-coating a […]

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 […]

Hobbit House Cake

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! For the base, the hobbit’s house and the […]

Steak and Chips Supper

A quick and simple supper dish for a treat! I don’t often eat steak and chips, but the flavour of a mature steak – cooked just a touch beyond rare – served with crunchy, almost nutty-flavoured chips that give way to the fluffiest of interiors make for perfection. The crucial things for me with the steaks are that they are […]

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 […]

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