Category Archives: Food

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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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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Mid Week Meal

A few years ago I went through a phase of doing ‘recipe of the week’ where I made a new years resolution to try at least one new recipe every week. My recipe of the week craze actually lasted longer than I thought it would and was relatively successful. But like most good things, it eventually came to an end as we came out of winter and I got busier/a little bit exhausted from the effort of it all.

Recently I felt I was in somewhat of a cooking rut so I started trawling through my recipe books to find something new to make for a mid week meal. I found a recipe for baked chicken wings and a lentil salad in Bills Open Kitchen which looked quite easy so I thought I’d give it a go. In my experience roasting/baking meat works best for me as all you have to do is bung it in the oven at the right temperature for the specified time and it should all be dandy. My occasional psycho chef ways mean that cooking meat on the hob is more of a gamble (last night’s recipe experiment, which I’m not even going to bother to write about as it was such a disaster, was a good illustration of this gamble not paying off).

Anyway, this is what you need for the chicken wings (which I can promise you are very easy and will definitely be a success!):

8 big (or more if they are smaller) chicken wings
1 1/2 teaspoons of sea salt
125ml (1/2 cup) of lemon juice
90g (1/4 cup) of honey
3 crushed garlic cloves
handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley

You start by preheating the oven to 200c. Chuck all the chicken wings into a baking dish cover them with the salt and bake for 30 mins. While the wings are baking you can make you sauce (and lentil salad and peaches, but more of that later).

To make the sauce for the chicken you just put the lemon juice, crushed garlic and honey into a little bowl and stir it until the honey has all dissolved. Once the chicken wings have cooked for the initial 30 mins, take them out of the oven and pour the sauce over. I flipped the wings around to make sure the sauce had coated them all over. Then put the dish back in the over and bake the wings for another 20 mins.

The chicken should be all golden and crispy when its done, don’t worry if it looks quite dark, its just the honey caramelising. Sprinkle with your parsley and then serve.

Whilst the chicken is baking you can prepare this super easy and healthy lentil salad to go with it. This is what you’ll need:

200g of ready to eat Puy lentils (I buy these in handy sachets in the supermarket)
3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
1/4 of a red onion finely sliced
1 Lebanese cucumber
100g of feta cheese
Handful of fresh mint
Handful of fresh flat leaf parsley
Sea salt and pepper (to taste)

Mix the olive oil, lemon juice and salt and pepper in a big bowl. Add the lentils in and coat with the dressing. Chop your cucumber with the seeds removed into 4 long strips lengthways and then dice. I usually wouldn’t be precious about this type of thing, but it really must be a lebanese cucumber, a normal one just isn’t the right taste for this salad. Add your cucumber, sliced red onion and crumbled feta into the bowl and stir through. Pop the salad into a serving bowl and top with the fresh mint and parsley. Easy!

Then for pudding I made roasted peaches, an idea I got after seeing it on the Londoner. Like the rest of this meal, this pudding is very quick to prepare and you can do it whilst the chicken is baking. All you do is cut in half your peaches (1 per person) and put them in a baking dish with a drizzle of honey and a knob of butter on top.

Then make a quick topping with:

125g of marscapone
75ml double cream
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Just whisk them all together to make a yummy rich vanilla cream to go on top. It’s enough for a generous 2 portions (or 3 normal portions)

Then while you’re eating your dinner you can put the peaches in the oven to bake at 180c for 20 mins, or longer if the peaches don’t quite look done.

When they’re all lovely and golden taken them out of the oven and just let them sit for a few mins whilst you toast a handful of flaked almonds to go on top. Then just pop your peaches, a dollop of the cream and a sprinkle of almond on a plate and your super easy pud is ready.

This entire meal took less than 1 hour to make which I thought was pretty good given all the different components and the fact that it was a totally new recipe for me. So if you need an easy but impressive mid week menu definitely give this a try. Enjoy x

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Carrot Cake

I’ve wanted to try to make carrot cake for a really long time, because I love it’s cinnamon-ey, nutty yumminess. But as ridiculous as this sounds, I had a preconception that carrot cake would be really difficult to make because it had…um, carrot, in it. It turns out it wasn’t hard at all, but carrot to me still just seems like such a weird thing to put in a cake. To make the whole endeavour even better I worked out after I’d made it, that compared to a normal cake carrot cake is actually quite healthy (in the loosest sense of the word) because it doesn’t have any butter in it and it involves really quite a lot of carrots- way more than you’d expect.

Anyway, as with most of my cooking escapades, I turned to my library of Bill Granger cookbooks and I found this easy recipe for Carrot Cake in Bill’s Basics. You start by greasing and lining a 24cm springform cake tin.

To make the cake you’ll need these ingredients:

200g plain flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
200g grated carrot
250g soft brown sugar
3 eggs
250ml light-flavoured oil (I used sunflower, but vegetable or canola oil would also work)
100g sultanas or raisins
100g chopped walnuts
zest of 1 orange

To make the icing you’ll need these ingredients:

250g cream cheese
30g unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
125g icing sugar

Preheat your oven to 170c. You start the cake by sifting together your flour, baking powder and cinnamon in a big bowl. Grate your carrots and then mix the grated carrots through the flour mixture. Without a doubt the hardest and most annoying part of this recipe is grating the carrots, 200g was actually quite a few carrots and it took me ages, but I’m quite weak on the grating front, as well as very cautious after a bad run in with a parmesan grater a few weeks back.

In a different bowl whisk your eggs and sugar together. (Very) slowly whisk in your oil to this mixture, if you don’t do it slowly the mixture will split and all the oil will just sit on top of the sugar and eggs which is gross, so take your time.

Make a well in the carroty flour bowl and pour the wet mixture in, stir it until the mixture just comes together. Then fold through your sultanas, walnuts and orange zest.

Pour the mixture into your baking tin and bake at 170c for between 1 and 1 and a quarter hours. I haven’t put loads of pictures of the cooking process because as you can see the mixture looks a little unappealing, but I can assure you it completely transforms in the oven and looks delicious (and not at all like vom) when it comes out.

Once your cake is baked, which you can check with a skewer which should come out clean (or a knife, if like me you don’t own a skewer) let it cool in the tin for 5 mins. Then take it out of the tin to cool on a wire rack. Once the cake is cool make your icing.

The icing is so easy, just beat together the cream cheese, butter and vanilla until smooth and then add the icing sugar and beat until smooth.

Then slather your icing all over the top of your cake….


Until it looks shiny and lovely. Obviously add the amount of icing to your own taste. The quantities in this recipe make quite a bit of icing, which I like, but not everyone does. I’ve noticed that boys don’t really like that much icing.


Reward yourself for your (not so) strenuous baking efforts with a generous piece of cake to go with a cup of tea. Enjoy x

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Lovely Laksa

I discovered this Laksa recipe a few years back and it’s been a firm favourite of mine ever since. Laksa is a spicy coconut-ey noodle soup from Malaysia and it’s so simple to make; ideal for a quick mid week dinner.

The basic ingredients are:

– Chicken stock
– Coconut milk
– Limes
– Noodles (egg noodles or thin rice vermicelli work well)
– Asian green vegetables (like pak choy or choy sum)
– Beansprouts
– A protein (either chicken, prawns or tofu)

and the crucial ingredient….. Laksa paste! This can be a little hard to get your hands on in London, but any good oriental supermarket would stock it. I’ve brought this before at Tawana a Thai supermarket in Notting Hill and also Wing Yip in Cricklewood. Usually when I see it I just stock up on a few jars, but in the past if I’ve not had any in the cupboard and have been desperate for a Laksa fix I’ve used Thai red curry paste which you can get in most supermarkets, its not quite the real deal but it does the trick.

Truthfully there isn’t much cooking required for this recipe- its more of an assembly exercise. You do need to cook the soup though and these measurements will make 4 average or 3 big portions of soup.

Start by heating 3 to 4 tablespoons (depending on how spicy you want your soup) of Laksa paste over a medium heat in a saucepan for about a minute, or until it’s bubbling and you can smell the fragrant scent.

Add 1 litre of hot chicken stock and 250ml of coconut milk and bring to the boil. If you have a bottle at home you could also add a dash of Thai fish sauce to the soup for extra flavour. Once the lovely sun coloured soup has reached boiling temperature turn it down to a low simmer while you prepare your other ingredients

In a separate saucepan boil your noodles (for however many bowls of soup you want to make). Once cooked drain them and then run them under cold water to shock them and stop them from cooking any longer and getting all soggy. Divide the noodles into portions and put them in the soup bowls.

The great thing about this recipe is you can adapt what meat/fish and veggies you put into the soup. This time I used prawns, pak choy and bean sprouts. I cooked the raw prawns in the soup for about 3-4 mins or until they’ve turned red in colour and are cooked through. At the same time I dropped my pak choy and bean sprouts into the soup to cook for the last 2 minutes, just use enough vegetables for however many people you’re cooking for- roughly a handful each. You can also substitute the prawns for tofu and cook the same way.

If I was doing chicken instead, which I have done lots in the past, I would pan fry enough chicken breasts for however many portions I want to make and then just chop them up when cooked and put them into the soup.

Once your prawns and veggies are cooked pour them and the soup over your noodles (don’t worry the soup will heat the noodles) into the soup bowls.

Serve with a wedge of lime and a sprinkle of chilli flakes over the top to taste. If you’re a coriander lover (sadly I am most definitely not) you could also add a smattering of this.

Super quick and easy and so yummy. If you have left over soup it freezes and defrosts really well too! Enjoy x

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British banana muffins

All this Olympic excitement is making me feel very patriotic towards my adopted home country, so I couldn’t help myself today when I saw these awesome GB themed muffin cases in Sainsbury’s…

I had been eyeing up this banana and nutella muffin recipe on the Londoner for a while and these little muffin tins were the perfect excuse to try it out. I would really recommend you give it a go, the muffins are delicious!

I also added some chopped hazelnuts on top to compliment the nutella vibes.

Luckily I also had the perfect cake tin to store these british beauties in

Enjoy x

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