Guinness Ginger Cake

It’s so cold and borderline snowy in London at the moment it felt apt that I would try out a little winter baking recipe. I’m not a beer kinda girl but Guinness always seems like such a winter warmer that I wanted to try out a Guinness ginger cake recipe that I had been eyeing up for a while.

The recipe is Nigella (standard) and the ingredients are a little festive, mulled wine type vibes. Although Christmas is long gone, I still think there’s something quite comforting about these warming flavours. Cooking with Guinness was uncharted territory for me but the earthiness really compliments the spicy ginger type flavours.

The recipe is a little more involved than a basic cake, but anything that doesn’t involve creaming the butter and sugar is ok by me (so boring, I just don’t have the patience). This is what you’ll need:

  • 150g butter, plus some for greasing
  • 300g golden syrup
  • 200g dark muscovado sugar
  • 250ml guinness
  • 2 teaspoons ground giner
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 300g plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
  • 300ml sour cream
  • 2 eggs

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You start by taking all of these ingredients (Guinness, sugar, golden syrup, ground ginger, cinnamon, ground cloves, butter) and melting it over a low heat.

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Once the dark brown sugar is fully dissolved you should get a molten gold liquid that looks something like this. Move the liquid into a big mixing bowl as the recipe makes a lot of batter.

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Then sift the flour and bicarbonate of soda into the liquid. You’ll need to whisk it thoroughly to make sure you don’t get any lumps.

Take your eggs and the sour cream and whisk them together in a separate jug or bowl. The sour cream makes this cake super moist.

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Whisk the sour cream and egg mixture into the batter, again taking care to get rid of any lumps.

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You should end up with a big bowl of dark golden batter. It’s a very liquid mixture so don’t be put off by the fact that it’s a bit more runny than a normal cake batter.

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Then pour the batter into a deep cake tin (30cm by 20cm) which is lined and greased. I used one where you can pop the bottom out as its a really moist cake so I think it would break taking it out of a normal cake tin.

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Bake the cake in a 170c oven for 45 minutes or until bronzed and golden and coming away at the sides.

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Served warm with some creme fraiche this makes an amazing pudding.

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But it’s equally delicious with a cup of tea, they went down a treat with my work colleagues and the fact that the cake has Guinness in it definitely makes it unique.

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Enjoy x

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Wishbone

As a South West London newbie I’ve been very excited to explore all the restaurants that when I was a North Londoner just seemed much much too far away. Brixton village, and more specifically, Wishbone had been on my to do list for a long time. If you haven’t been to Brixton village– you must, it is awesome. It’s cute little arcade is a hotch-potch of old fashioned green grocers and fish mongers mixed with cool new street food style restaurants.

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Wishbone serves southern american style food, and the chicken is to die for. Admittedly, on paper the idea of spending a Saturday night in Brixton eating fried chicken sounds less than glamorous, but I can assure you that you won’t be disappointed by the tasty treats on offer.

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Start with one of their amazing sours, you pick the poison, egg or no egg and either straight up or on the rocks, and this bartender who I think looks a little like super mario will make it for you. We tried gin sours on the rocks and pisco sours straight up, both of which were delicious.

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Then the chicken… of which we ordered so so much. Embarrassingly between 3 people we almost ordered every item on the menu and the waiter commented that he might have to roll us out. But it was worth it- the food is seriously yummy.

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We tried a few different types of chicken- Thai style fried chicken with lime and basil, buffalo wings, which were by far my favourite, and came with a blue cheese sauce, and then traditional southern style fried chicken with barbecue sauce.

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We ordered quite a few sides to go with our chicken, this messy looking concoction below was a mix of cheese, jalapeños and hash browns I think. To be honest I’m not entirely sure what was in it- but it was delicious.

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And this… wow- macaroni cheese squares. So so yum. Mac and cheese- deep fried, not sure how they actually do it, but it just works.

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Oh and we had coleslaw. As you can see we did a good job demolishing everything put in front of us.

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And then washing it down with another sour.

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Go early if you don’t want to have to queue, as its a pretty popular place nowadays. I was sad I couldn’t stay longer on the night I went, just as we were leaving to head to the cinema the bar was getting really buzzy and fun. Wishbone is a great place for dinner with friends, but equally would be fun for a few drinks too. I’m planning my return asap.

Wishbone. 12 Market Row. Brixton Market. London. Sw9 9PR.

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Happy Pancake Day!

I look forward to pancake day every year, it is without a doubt one of my most favourite holidays, if it even qualifies as a holiday.

This year’s pancake day was even better than normal as I found the trick to perfect pancake batter- make it the day before and let it sit in the fridge overnight. I kid you not people, it makes a world of difference- just look at these little gems

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Hope you all had a lovely Pancake day and enjoyed excessive amounts of battered goods- I had 5, certainly a PB x

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Sweetcorn fritters

Sweetcorn fritters are delicious little pancakes full of sunshine. They’re a staple on Australian brunch menus and I’ve noticed that they’ve found their way onto many a London cafe menu recently. Sweetcorn fritters are a great breakfast option and they’ve gone down a storm when I’ve made them for a brunch with friends- but recently I’ve made making them for dinner too, with a tangy avocado salsa. They’re a great quick and healthy mid week dinner.

This recipe will make about 10 fritters, but quite often I half the recipe which works really well. This is what you’ll need:

525g sweetcorn (ideally cut fresh from the cob but tinned works perfectly fine too)
1 small red onion
2 eggs
1 teaspoon baking powder
125g plain flour
Salt & pepper

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Chuck all your ingredients into a food processor, but only put in about 2/3 of the sweetcorn at this stage and blitz until combined.

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Move the mixture into a bowl and stir the other 1/3 of the sweetcorn through.

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That’s your fritter batter done- how easy is that!? Now the avocado salsa- you’ll need:

1 avocado
2 spring onions
a handful of cherry tomatoes or 1 big tomato
the juice of 1 lime
a dash of tabasco
Salt & pepper to taste

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Chop up all your ingredients and mix them together in a bowl. Make sure to remove the seeds from the tomatoes first.

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Now to cook the fritters, heat up a pan with some olive oil in it. Spoon on 2 heaped tablespoons of mixture for each fritter.

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Fry for a couple of minutes on each side until the batter is cooked through and the fritters are golden brown.

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You can keep the fritters warm in the oven whilst you cook all your batter. These sweetcorn fritters also freeze really well and can be re-heated in the microwave from frozen in about 1 minute.

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But once they’re ready pop them onto a plate with your avocado salsa, some green leaves, a wedge of lime and tuck in. Enjoy x

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Melbourne memories

Its been almost a month since I got back from an amazing few weeks at home over Christmas. January in London is always a bit of a cold and dreary slog, so to celebrate finally being in February a little Melbourne Instagram catch up is in order..

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Beautiful sunny Melbourne (sigh)

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Walking in the (very) urban wilderness. My sisters sold this to me as a walk to a waterfall- as you can see I was disappointed by the drain we ended up at…

 

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Proper urban wilderness…

 

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Pop up street food in Collingwood- vegan goods were in abundance

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Best schnitzel ever at Pillar of Salt Richmond

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Boxing day test at the MCG- a family tradition

 

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Beach days

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Walkin the Tan

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Garden breakfasts at Porgie & Mr Jones

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The BEST smashed avocado and mushrooms on sourdough… swoon.

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The Shrine. I had never been before- very cool.

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Brighton beach

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Everyone had beach tents. We were jealous, but my sis conveniently was driving around with an actual tent in her car- so we used that instead… I wouldn’t recommended it- it is REALLY hard to pitch a tent in sand on a windy beach.

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Lots and lots of flat whites

Only a few more months until summer in London… hang on in there guys xx

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Mussel Men

Last Saturday night I headed to deepest darkest Dalston with a group of friends to check out the Mussel Men pop up at Fabrica 584.

There seem to be a plethora of foodie pop ups around at the moment, and I’m making it one of my new year’s resolutions to try to visit all of them! But Mussel Men in particular sounded epic, and perfect for a wintery night in January to combat the post Christmas blues.

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So here’s the deal- you book in pairs (but we went as a group of 10 and that worked really well) and for £35 you get a kilo of mussels and frites to share, a bottle of prosecco and either oysters to start or a dessert. A pretty good deal for central London I would say.

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The food is all yummy and good quality- simple but well done. The dessert was delicious, but I ate it all before I could take any pics, which was awkward given I was meant to be sharing it…

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So, while the food was great, and worth visiting for that alone, one of the main attractions is definitely Captain Bob and his thumb warfare. Wannabe Mussel Men can challenge Bob to a thumb war, and if you beat him you get a free Mussel Men t-shirt! What’s not to love about that!?

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We quickly realised though, that Captain Bob is pretty fierce when it comes to thumb warfare- in fact I’m pretty sure he has never been beaten- ever.

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We even resorted to trying to arm wrestle him, and when that still didn’t work we decided to accept his kind offer of a free t-shirt if we ordered another bottle of Prosecco (no great burden there).

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After that we decided it would be much more fun to just challenge each other to thumb wars in the weird little thumb boxing rings that they had- at least one of us had a chance of winning!

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Check out the next Mussel Men pop up on this weekend- you can find the details and book through their website here.

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We’re all taking our training seriously for our next thumb war showdown with Captain Bob. In the meantime, definitely check it out! Enjoy x

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Upstairs at The Ten Bells

At first glance the Ten Bells pub in Spitalfields looks like a less than salubrious establishment. Definitely veering into OMP territory (that’s Old Man’s Pub to us young-uns), you would never guess that it has a fantastic restaurant in the upstairs dining room.

Upstairs at the Ten Bells originally started as a 3 month pop-up by a collective of chefs called the  Young Turks. I went there, way back when it was just a temporary venture and loved it. Unsurprisingly, as it was so popular, it’s now a permanent feature at the Ten Bells.

The dining room is super cosy and its the perfect place for a winter’s night catch up with friends after a long work week. The service is so friendly and you’re welcomed with a loaf of home made, still warm, bread.

They change the menu regularly and serve seasonal produce. Happily this meant the menu was completely different from the last time I went- apart from one dish which I was so glad to see they were still serving! I had this delicious buttermilk chicken with pine salt to start.

The girls starters were also apparently delicious, a chestnut and truffle soup and mussels.

And while we waited for our mains we admired the interesting nip-art that adorns the dining room.


For main I had Hake with brown shrimps which was so yummy!

We also sampled the roast partridge which looked really special

And one of the things I loved most was that even though one of my friends is vegetarian (and a proper veggie at that- no fish or anything!) there was still an appealing option on the menu for her. I definitely would have been happy to eat any of the veggie dishes, like this butternut squash with spatzle.

Last but not least, dessert- my favourite course. I find the desserts here to be really interesting and unconventional. I had this pear and thyme salad with honey ice cream and coffee crumbs. I love that they don’t just stick with the standard and often boring traditional desserts.

The other dessert we tried was apple and ale fritters with creme fraiche which was a little more conventional, but still really unusual and innovative I thought.

In my view, the food at the Ten Bells is just as good as what you would get in a top end central London restaurant and the price is very reasonable. We had 3 courses and wine for under £40 a head including service. Definitely give it a try next time you venture to East London, I can’t recommend it enough.

Upstairs at the Ten Bells. 84 Commercial St. E1 6LY. Enjoy x

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