2015: Week 9: FAKE BAKE: Aldi Crusty White Bread Rolls


Baking bread is nice. It’s nice, and lovely, and fairly straightforward, and time consuming, and this little packet of joy is an absolute godsend. it’s literally a case of mix with some water to form a dough…


…Rest for a few minutes, and either load into a loaf time, or break apart and roll into roll shapes. It suggests 15, but I like my rolls big, so I only made 7. In hindsight, the 7 turned out like giant-hulk-rolls, and next time I’ll probably aim for 10…


… Then leave them prove for 40 minutes in a warm place (I put them on top of the oven while it was preheating, and it seemed to work pretty well) – then bake for 15 minutes. It’s that simple!

SAM_1379 SAM_1381

Where’s the 7th you’re wondering? Well. They were ready just in time for lunch…



2015: Week 8: Easy Peasy Raspberry Macarons


Macarons have a rep for being one of the hardest things to make. Based on the recipe I used, I don’t think that’s necessarily the case – they were surprisingly easy to make!

I chose to use the easiest one I could find, from About Food. Pretty much all the other ones involved dangerous-sounding molten sugar. I’m terrified of burning myself on the oven as it is, I like to limit the options I have to hurt myself.


I had to whip egg whites into peaks! For the first time, ever! I held it over my head and everything… I think it looks delicious all moussey and shiny like that.


I had my concerns before I put them in the oven, the raw mix didn’t look smooth and didn’t settle.


When they came out I though “oh god. I’ve ruined them.” Cracked, uneven colour, some had just caught on the edges… But they actually tasted AMAZING. Crispy on top, chewy in the middle, and filled with vanilla butter cream and raspberry jam. Just goes to show that presentation isn’t everything.


Again, not the prettiest, but damn tasty! If anyone has any foolproof Macaron recipe’s I am very excited to hear them!

Dr Oetker #LoveToBake Twitter Competition – I won!

A little while ago on twitter, the Dr. Oetker twitter account held a low key #LoveToBake competition. To enter, all you had to do was tweet them a picture of your favorite thing you’ve baked.

I sent this picture of the Jamie Magazine Victoria Sponges I baked a few weeks ago:


A few days later, they chose the winners – I think there were between 3 or 5, and a few days later my prize arrived!


It contains valentines inspired goodies; heart shaped marshmallows, pink food colouring, and chocolate hearts (which I used before taking these pictures), and some regular goodies; dark chocolate, and three different flavours of cupcake centres. The salted caramel one is the best thing I have ever tasted.

I’m chuffed with it! I’m so proud that my new years resolution is a success ๐Ÿ™‚

2015: Week 7: Turkish Flat(ish) Breads

Current mindset: I have made James Morton’s Basic White Bread. I am therefore a baker and will attempt to bake all of the bread I come across.

On this particular day we were having friends over for a game night, and my fiance was cooking up a Mexican feast. I wanted to make something that would compliment it, and these seemed just the ticket.

flatbread 1It’s a very strange process in that you mix up a bread dough, leave it rise for only 40 minutes, then smush, and rest for 20 minutes, and seperate and leave for a further 20 minutes and then you fry it. Not bake it. Fry it. For a couple of minutes each side. and that’s it – done!

Unfortunately, my frying pan is ruined though. Scorched on oil stains are difficult to remove. Being a grown up is such hard work.

flatbread 2I got the recipe from this book I bought from The Works called Love Food – Baking Made Simple (I cant find a link to it), and looking at the google images of Turkish Flatbreads I don’t think I rolled it out thin or big enough – it kind of tasted like the baby of a naan and a pitta.

I can’t recommend them enough, they are amazingly tasty, and so impressive to serve up with a cocky “and here’s something I knocked up earlier” for very little work!

2015: Week 6: James Morton’s Bread

Had I made bread before I attempted this? I can’t remember. I once made it in school, but I don’t think I’d attempted legit real, knead-it-and-leave-it-in-front-of-the-fireplace-to-rise bread.

I got this recipe from James Morton’s book, Brilliant Bread, but I haven managed to find the exact recipe featured here on the Sainsbury’s Magazine website.

bread 1

It says in the recipe that it will be “wetter than your average bread recipes”. My bread-baking naivety led me to a raised eyebrow. It was dryer than cake batter.

If you have an entire day to dedicate to baking the bread, then I highly recommend this recipe. I started it about 8am, and by the time I had done all of the rising, and bashing, and using the bread dough to relieve my tension, I pulled the finished loaf out of the oven at about 4.30pm. That is an entire work day for me! My fiance, who has more bread baking experience than me, laughed when I complained about it and said “Oh… Yeah…. You’re a slave to the bread now.”

I pulled it out of the oven about 3 minutes too soon. There was a line through the middle of the bread that was still a bit doughy – but I like my bread doughy so it wasn’t something that ruined my life.

It was delicious though! 4.5 Ugly Kitchens for you, James Morton!

2015: Week 5: Brilliant Brownies

These are the best brownies in the world.

I didn’t take very many pictures throughout the baking process, only when the brownies were cooked, and all ready to be demolished. Yum yum yum. The base recipe that I used was this one, from BBC Good Food. I recommend it, wholeheartedly.

Brownies 1

The alterations I made were:
I didn’t have any golden caster sugar – so I used half white caster sugar, halfย  soft brown sugar.
I put white chocolate and macadamia nuts in the mix, instead of white and milk chocolate.

Brownies 2

When I took them out, the top had a beautiful shine, and when I cut them up the insides were the squidgiest of any brownies I have ever tried, ever. I only made a small batch, so I cut them up into little brownie-bites, ate about 600 myself and took the rest to work. They went down so well that people were actually arguing over them!

I promised I’d make a fresh batch for the next day because I was on a sugar/compliment high. I made a batch that was twice the size of the first one, with just double the ingredients…. And it came out TERRIBLY. It was as dry as the Sahara. Not a squidgy middle in sight! I’m hoping the bad one was a fluke, and the good one will be how all other brownies I bake in the future will turn out.

If anyone has any ideas why this happened, I would LOVE to hear them!

2015: Week 4: FAKE BAKE: Goats Cheese and Olive Tart

Cheat Week! This week I used a roll of Jus’ Roll Light puff pastry, and topped with with tomato puree, goats cheese, sun dried tomatoes, black olives,ย  and red onions, and an egg glaze. puff pastry tart

What I learned:
The pastry doesnt cook very well with all the wet/oily products loaded on to it.

It was delicious, but a bit (a lot) soggy (raw) in the middle. Next time I’ll bake the pastry for a bit first, and then add all of the ingredients on the top and pop it in to bake for a bit longer. And I’ll probably dry fry the onions too.

Super easy, I would definitely recommend giving this a go if you like rich food with lots of flavour, that takes very little time and effort to create.