Gluten-Free Pomegranate Jewel Cake

Pomegranate Cake 3

At 33 years old (for another week or so at least. If anyone says the words ‘mid-thirties’ there’s a good chance I’ll slap them) I’m extremely grateful to still be close friends with the fabulous group of girls I went to school with. I didn’t realise how unusual that is until fairly recently, I clearly chose my friends wisely. Last weekend all 8 of us got together for the first time in ages for a day full of chatting and a night full of cocktails & food here in good old London town. I was hosting so obviously I had to make a cake.

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Helen has major problems with gluten, so a gluten-free cake was the order of the day and I decided that rather than whipping up one of my go to gluten-free cakes (this one and this one) I wanted to try something new and a tad more flamboyant. I knew I had to consult the queen of gluten-free cakes (and flamboyantness!) Nigella Lawson.

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When I laid eyes on this cake it was love at first sight. I have a well documented obsession with pomegranates and a recipe that involves covering an entire cake with them is impossible for me to resist. Add to that the fact that this is almond based with tangy lemon and orange zest and I may have discovered my new go-to cake. (continue reading…)

Maple Glazed Pumpkin Muffins

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Last November I visited my sister in New York and took a little trip to Trader Joe’s to pick up a jar of my favourite sunflower seed butter. Whilst languishing in the ridiculously gigantic queue I spotted a tin of organic pumpkin puree and realised that I’d never baked with pumpkin before.

It’s not exactly easy to find tinned pumpkin in England (although I have seen it in Tesco recently) and despite the proliferation of pumpkin spiced lattes around here, we’re not really pumpkin baked goods kind of people as a general rule. But I thought I should give it a go and see what the fuss was all about.

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However, last year I didn’t find the right recipe, nothing tickled my fancy and the tin of pumpkin remained unloved in my kitchen cupboard until I moved house, when it moved with me and stayed unloved in a whole new cupboard.

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That is until this autumn when every blog I came across was going nutty for pumpkin and I realised I could actually get in on this celebration of all things autumnal. A quick bit of recipe searching and I fell upon this completely gorgeous recipe from Pinch of Yum. What really drew me in was the maple glaze. I’ve never glazed anything before in my life so in the Scaredy-Cat spirit of this blog I thought I’d give it a go. Let me tell you, there’s a serious risk of all of my teeth falling out in the near future as I’m going to be glazing everything in sight from this point on.

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Rosemary & Sea Salt Focaccia

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There’s something supremely comforting about focaccia. Maybe it’s the sublimely salty crust, maybe the delightfully squishy insides and maybe the fact that it makes a delightful vehicle for cramming a load of olive oil and balsamic vinegar into your face. Whatever it is, I can’t get enough, but until this past weekend I’d never thought myself capable of whipping up my own loaf.

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I decided to challenge myself and immediately consulted the Italian Oracle that is Gennaro Contaldo. Not only is he a total authority on Italian food, he also ranks at the top of my list of TV chefs who look like they give amazing hugs (followed closely by Tom Kerridge and Nigella Lawson. Okay so it’s clearly just a top 3).

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And, my gosh, was I glad I trusted in Gennaro! This bread has the most amazing salty, rosemary scented crust and the inside is soft and airy. It’s insanely easy to make and whilst gorgeous dipped in olive oil, it also makes a perfect sandwich with lashings of dolcelatte cheese, a handful of cherry tomatoes and a couple of cheeky basil leaves. (continue reading…)

Cranberry & Orange Crumb Cake

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I have a confession to make. Today’s post was supposed to feature an elaborate, spiced, brown butter pull apart loaf, light and fluffy with autumnal spices. However, when I finally got out of bed at 11am this morning and properly read the recipe for how to make the dough I just couldn’t muster the energy, even with one of my energy balls, which usually have a 100% success rate!

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That’s life people, sometimes we just don’t have the energy to follow complicated instructions, get milk to an exact temperature and wait around for yeast to do it’s marvellous work. I’m hoping that sometime in the near future my energy will return and that pull apart loaf will be on my coffee table, but in the meantime I have turned to crumb cake.

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The beauty of a good crumb cake recipe is that it’s super simple and fully adaptable to pretty much whatever fruit you happen to have available. Just chop it up and pop it into the basic batter mix and you’ll have a soft, fluffy, fruity cake with a deliciously sweet and crunchy topping. Utterly irresistable! (continue reading…)

Date, Almond, Coconut & Chocolate Energy Balls

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Ask anyone who knows me well and they’ll tell you that exercise isn’t really my thing. The closest I’ve come to organised sport is a rather inappropriate Saturday job at JJB Sports whilst I was in the sixth form, not sure what I was thinking there.

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If it wasn’t for the massive amount of cake involved in writing a food blog I doubt I would ever exercise at all. As it stands, there are only 2 things that get me through a painful gym session: an old episode of Downton Abbey on my iPad (new series starts tonight!!) and one (or maybe two) of these scrumptious energy balls.

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Pop a stock of these chocolatey, coconuty, almondy balls in your fridge (or freezer) and you’ve got yourself some bite sized bursts of energy at your finger tips, just the ticket for a post-work workout. They’re also perfect for that afternoon slump, when you just can’t go on without something sweet. Just keep in mind that they’re not chocolate truffles, they’re packed full of dates, and if you get too carried away you may be spending a little more time in the smallest room of the house than you’re used to! (apologies for lowering the tone!) (continue reading…)

Cheddar & Thyme Crackers

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Today feels like a comfort food kind of a day, sometimes it’s the only way to alleviate that Sunday fug and when I think of comfort food, I think of cheese (and mashed potato, but that would make a pretty poor blog post). Thankfully I already had all of the ingredients necessary to make some absolutely marvellous cheese crackers, so I didn’t have to drag myself to the shops.

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These crackers are puffed, flakey and intensely cheesy and would be utterly brilliant at a cocktail party or with a cheeky vino on a Friday night. Alternatively just wolf them whilst slobbing out on the sofa in front of cooking show after cooking show on the Food Network. Sounds good to me.

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They’re predominantly made out of mature cheddar cheese and very little else, which is undoubtably what makes them so completely gorgeous. Joy the Baker’s original recipe makes 70 crackers, which would be much too dangerous in this household, so I’ve halved the recipe. I also decided to sub the spices for thyme, as the gorgeousness of cheddar combined with thyme can’t be beat, and the smell when they’re cooking, oh my word, hold me back! (continue reading…)

Chocolate Dipped Coconut Macaroons

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For a while there I lost sight of why I started this blog. Swept away by a preoccupation with views, foodgawker and a need for validation, I forgot the reason for this blog’s existence: motivation to cook something new and to improve my photography. I spent a disproportionate amount of time evaluating whether a chocolate cookie or a quinoa salad would get me more views, rather than thinking about what I actually wanted to cook and eat. Suddenly it all felt like too much work and the enjoyment was gone. Combine that with a couple of summer holidays and moving to the other side of the Thames and you’ve got 3 months without a blog post.

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It’s time for a new beginning. From now on, I’ll cook what I want, when I want. If I don’t post every week, it’s not the end of the world. If foodgawker don’t like my photos, I’ll cope. If no one reads my posts, admittedly I’ll be a tiny bit sad but I know my mum will still tune in and that’s good enough for me.

Coconut Macaroons Ingredients

To celebrate this new attitude, I decided to whip something up using one of my favourite foods, the coconut. Coconut macaroons are my idea of heaven, mainly when accompanied with dark chocolate, rendering them reminiscent of a Bounty bar. For those unfamiliar with the Bounty (you poor things!) it’s like an Almond Joy bar but without the almond and soooo much better! (continue reading…)

Apologies!

To all of my lovely followers out there, my sincerest apologies for the lack of blog action around here lately. I’ve moved house and am currently living in mild chaos with nowhere to take pictures.

I will rectify this as soon as possible and hope to be up and running again in the near future. I’m also hoping to whip up a few posts about my new abode, if the decorating goes to plan!

In the meantime, I hope you like my new blog format, I’m currently experimenting with looks and it may change several more times in the coming months, as I am fairly fickle.

May I recommend a Chocolate Cherry Frangipane Tart while you’re waiting?

 

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Overnight Oats #4 – Roasted Rhubarb with Orange

Overnight Oats with Rhubarb 1

For today’s overnight oats post we’re talking rhubarb and what better accompaniment to rhubarb than orange. They play off each other so beautifully and the pink and orange colour combo is just gorgeous.

The orange, with the help of a touch of brown sugar, counteracts the tartness of the rhubarb and makes for a perfect, zingy contrast to the creamy oats. It takes a little longer to prep the night before, but keeps in the fridge for a good few days, so it’s worth a little effort.

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Overnight Oats with Roasted Rhubarb and Orange
Makes enough rhubarb for 2 servings

For the basic overnight oats recipe click here

Rhubarb ingredients:
200g (1 1/2 to 2 sticks) rhubarb
1 tbsp honey
Juice and zest of half an orange

Preheat the oven to 175C / 160C / 350F.

Slice the rhubarb into 1 inch pieces and put it in a baking tray (with sides) and pour over the honey, zest and orange juice and give it a little stir.

Cover the baking tray loosely with foil and bake the rhubarb for 20-30 minutes until soft but holding its shape.

Once cooled pop the rhubarb in a bowl in the fridge and serve over your basic overnight oats.

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Marcona Almond, Cherry & Chocolate Blondies

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Blimey these blondies are good. They’re so good that I only had time to snap a couple of incredibly dull pictures before I had to tuck in, my willpower falling to the wayside.

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The secret here, as in a lot of good things, is the almond butter. In much the same way as it adds richness to a bowl of overnight oats, here it adds an irresistible depth of flavour that blondies can sometimes lack.

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Crunchy almonds, dried sour cherries and chunks of deeply dark chocolate add just the right amount of interest and variety to every bite. (Chocolate, almonds and cherries are always a fantastic combo, see also my cherry chocolate frangipane tart, ridiculously good.) (continue reading…)