Blood Orange & Campari Cake (Gluten Free)

Blood Orange & Campari Cake 3

The Christmas before last my friend Jodie bought me the Polpo cookbook. After about 2 minutes of looking at all of the amazing Venetian recipes I was utterly obsessed with the blood orange and campari cake. Massive negroni fan that I am, I couldn’t imagine a better combo for the perfect cake and knew I had to make it as soon as possible!

Blood Orange & Campari Cake 2

However, procrastination is my greatest skill, so a few months passed with no sign of the cake and then all of a sudden, blood orange season was over. So when blood oranges season kicked off again this year I knew I had to grab the bull by the horns, juice 8 oranges and get this cake on my coffee table!

Blood Orange & Campari Cake 1

Now it has happened, and in celebration I have made my first ever gif! (Yes, I’m massively behind the times, but cut this technophobe some slack!) (continue reading…)

Cheese, Leek and Thyme Toasted Sandwich

Cheese leek toasted sandwich 6

Following a couple of moderately disappointing and extremely frustrating baking experiences, that both ended in severe sugar overdoses, I felt that this weekend it was time to move into the realms of savoury comfort food.

There’s something about a toasted cheese sandwich (or grilled cheese if you will) that makes up for the rain, the cold and the grey London skies. This is not so much a recipe as a flavour combination that I really hope you’ll try.

Cheese leek toasted sandwich 5

For today’s exploration of toasted cheese I decided to travel the classic British route of a bracingly mature cheddar, in the form of Lincolnshire Poacher, supplied by the wonderful experts at Neal’s Yard Dairy in Borough Market. To pair with the tangy cheese I chose meltingly sweet leeks, sautéed with a little dried thyme, although if you have fresh that would be even better, and a bit of seasoning.

Sourdough bread

Tangy, melty cheese, sweet, fragrant leeks and crunchy slices of toasted sourdough, what could possibly go wrong? Thankfully, unlike my recent cakes, this sandwich went entirely according to plan and delivered exactly the comfort on a grey Sunday afternoon that I was hoping for. (continue reading…)

Gluten Free Carrot, Almond & Pistachio Cake with Rosewater Cream

Gluten Free Carrot Almond Cake 4

This Christmas one of my lovely friends bought me the most marvellous cookbook, Persiana by Sabrina Ghayour. It’s one of those books that leaves you with the desire to invite people round for dinner immediately, so that you can try out as many dishes as possible. Every recipe seemed to catch my eye, but one stood out more than most, principally due to the presence of pistachios, almonds and, an ingredient I don’t get to use often enough, rosewater.

Gluten Free Carrot Almond Cake 1

It seems I may have a thing for gluten free carrot cake (I can heartily recommend the Venetian Carrot Cake), or possibly almond based cakes in general (Blueberry Polenta Cake with Lavender Syrup and Pomegranate Jewel Cake).

Gluten Free Carrot Almond Cake 3

Maybe it’s that hint of almond taste and texture or perhaps it’s the fact that the lack of flour makes it possible to happily eat more than your fair share! (continue reading…)

Gingerbread Biscuits

Gingerbread 1

This weekend I’ve been overcome by the spirit of Christmas, and what better way to kick off the celebrations than with a traditional batch of gingerbread biccies.

Gingerbread 8

This is my go to recipe which I come back to year after year and it never does me wrong. (I found it on the Channel 4 website once upon a time, but it seems to have disappeared!) The fabulous thing about this gingerbread is that it doesn’t just contain ginger but also fragrant cinnamon and cloves giving it the ultimate christmassy flavour.

Gingerbread 2

These biscuits are slightly crunchy on the outside but perfectly soft and fluffy on the inside, making them perfect for pairing with a cuppa or better yet a glass of steaming mulled wine.

(By the way, check out the awesome rolling pin in the pic above that my sis got me for my birthday, it actually writes Scaredy Cat Kitchen in the dough! Thanks Jules!) (continue reading…)

Bakewell Tart

Bakewell Tart 2

Happy birthday to me! And I should add to my boyfriend Ben, well actually his was yesterday, but I reluctantly shared this birthday tart with him anyway.

Bakewell Tart 5

Bakewell tart, for the uninitiated, is a British classic. Flakey pastry, a thin layer of raspberry jam (always, always raspberry) and almond sponge, topped with toasty, flaked almonds (or sometimes icing, but for me its all about the almonds.) It has to be one of my all time favourites, hence its selection as this year’s birthday dessert.

Bakewell Tart 1

Despite its seeming simplicity, the flavours are just perfect and it can definitely compete with last year’s birthday special, even though that one was a bit of a showstopper. (continue reading…)

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.

Pomegranate Cake 6

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.

Pomegranate Cake 5

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

 Pumpkin muffins 1

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.

Pumpkin muffins 2

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.

Pumpkin muffins 3

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.

(continue reading…)

Rosemary & Sea Salt Focaccia

Focaccia 1

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.

Focaccia 2

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).

Focaccia 3

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…)

Date, Almond, Coconut & Chocolate Energy Balls

Energy Balls 1

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.

Energy Balls 2

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.

Energy Balls 3

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

Cheese Thyme Crackers 1

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.

Cheese Thyme Crackers 2

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.

Cheese Thyme Crackers 3

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…)