Monday, 24 February 2014

Winter Olympics 2014 and Apricot, Almond and Marzipan Fruit Cake

If my baking was solely influenced by my telly viewing habits, this week I'd be presenting you with a Winter Olympic themed cake. For the past thirteen days I've been addicted to Sochi 2014

Of course the same happened with London 2012. And pretty much every single sporting competition I've ever watched since learning how a TV remote control works. The difference with Sochi is that I've absolutely no idea what I'm watching. The 'double corks' in the halfpipe appear to defy gravity and I worry desperately for the knee joints of the mogul participants. The snowboarding cross is ludicrous and brilliantly fun to watch from the comfort and safety of the sofa. And despite watching twenty three hours straight of curling earlier this week I've still no clue what 'the hammer' is or the difference between 'cleaning and sweeping' the stone thing.

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Milk Chocolate Homemade 'Hobnobs'

It's Valentine's Day. A day to celebrate love, greeting card manufacturers and growers of red roses.

Whether you are spending this evening in an overpriced, candlelit restaurant a deux complete with a novelty heart shaped menu or if you are studiously avoiding all romance by conscientiously completing next year's tax return I promise you'll love these biscuits. 

Friday, 7 February 2014

Apple, Sultana Cinnamon Chelsea Buns

In Ye Olden Days of Yore the London Borough of Chelsea wasn't known for its overpaid football team, its annual celebration of flowers or its fancy-pants fashion stores. 

Back in the Eighteenth Century it was known for The Chelsea Bun House. A House that sold buns of such finesse that author Sir Richard Phillips proclaimed that their 'delicate flavour, lightness and richness have never been successfully imitated'. Owned by the rather fittingly named Captain Bun (I'm not making this up, honest) the Bun House attracted nobility, gentry and even royalty George II, his son George III and his wife Queen Charlotte were all loyalty-card carrying customers. The modern day equivalent of Her Majesty popping out to Gregg's for an Iced Finger for Prince Philip is now imprinted on my mind.

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Soft 'Dinner' Bread Rolls


Can you judge a restaurant by its bread? 

That'll be an emphatic 'But of course!' from me. 

It's only flour, yeast and water. Not a spectacular soufflé or an award winning amuse bouche or a main dish worthy of a Michelin star. And in recession-led times when margins are tight, the bread basket on the house may be the first to disappear. But I know that if a plate of warm, freshly baked, delicious bread appears as we're contemplating the wine list my anticipation for the meal ahead will treble. Perfect the basics of a great loaf and you can guarantee my return.