Tag Archives: cooking

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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Granola Goodness

I’m definitely not a morning person- it is a widely known fact. I have friends who, no matter how late they go to bed (or how much they have to drink the night before) manage to spring out of bed in the early hours of the morn every single day. I on the other hand, have taken after all the women in my family and have a natural ability to sleep in forever!

So against all my best efforts I’m never organised enough to eat breakfast at home before I go to work in the morning. After years of spending a small fortune buying breakfast from Pret every day or eating really unhealthy sugary cereal at the office I had the bright idea of trying to make granola at home to bring into work.

I also wanted to try to make a healthier type of granola which didn’t have a shed load of sugar/honey/maple syrup etc. After scouring the internet and recipe books for ages and not really finding anything helpful I came up with my own invention which uses Agave Nectar. Agave is a natural sweetner which is much better for you than any of the refined syrups, and it’s low GI!

This is what you’ll need to make my super easy granola:

125ml Agave Nectar
2 tbsps of vegetable oil (or any flavourless oil- sunflower, rapeseed etc)
2 tbsps of honey
1 tsp of vanilla extract
300g of rolled oats
5og of sunflower seeds
50g of pumpkin seeds
100g of flaked almonds
4 tbsps of sesame seeds
50g of flaked or dessicated coconut
100g of dried fruit (I used apricots as they’re my fav, but you can choose anything!)

And this is what you need to do (its so easy!):

Turn on your oven to 150c

Mix all your wet ingredients together in a big bowl (oil, agave nectar, honey and vanilla extract).

Then add into the same bowl your oats and all your seeds (make sure you don’t add the fruit or the coconut yet!) and mix it all together so the dry ingredients are all coated with the wet ingredients.

Then spread your mixture on a big baking tray covered in baking paper and cook in the oven at 150c for 15 minutes.

While your mixture is cooking in the oven, chop up your 100g of dried fruit into bite size chunks

and mix in the coconut…

After 15 minutes and when the tray of nuts and oats is all golden, take it out of the oven and mix in the apricots and coconut. Make sure you mix it in well and turn over all the nuts and oats which have already been cooking, so all the mixture goes golden brown.

Bake the granola for another 10 to 15 minutes, or until the mixture is really crispy and golden.

Once its done, take the mixture off the tray and cool on a flat cold tray.

You can then eat it with yogurt or milk and fresh fruit for breakfast. My favourite is to have it with greek yogurt and fresh berries- yum!

The best thing about this is that you’ve made it yourself and you know exactly what went into it- so can be sure there is no unhealthy sugars or preservatives. You’ll start the day feeling very virtuous I promise! Enjoy x

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Pizza Party

For quite a long time my boyfriend and I had been pondering the idea of making home made pizza. In hindsight I feel quite bad about how loudly I had voiced my affliction to the idea- it just seemed like it was going to be a messy and time consuming process and generally a bit of a faff. Plus, as much as I love baking I have this aversion to anything pastry or dough related as I’m rubbish at making it. Despite my protests, he was really pushing the idea and a few weekends ago surged ahead and gave it a go.

Like many things, it turned out I was totally wrong about the home made pizza. It wasn’t a huge ordeal- although it did make quite a mess. It was actually pretty easy and incredibly yummy which in the end justified the layer of flour covering the kitchen.

We used a great Jamie Oliver recipe which you can get on his website here. All the exact details are outlined in the recipe, but vaguely speaking….

We started by making the dough. I was probably overexcited about this part because it meant I got to try out the dough hooks on my new Kenwood hand mixer- which is awesome by the way.

We then left the dough to prove in a warm space (next to the radiator in case you’re wondering) until it had doubled in size.

After the proving stage you have to knock back the dough, which basically means beating all the air out of it. Then you can make it into your pizzas!
Trying to get the dough to go into a pizza-esque shape turned out to be hardest part of the process so I wouldn’t even bother next time- it doesn’t need to be a perfect circle to taste good.

We then prepared all of our toppings- the roasted aubergine and peppers were my favourite.

Then you can decorate until your heart is content…. I like my pizza loaded with lots of healthy veggies and not too much cheese. One of the great things about making your own pizzas is that you know exactly what’s gone into it and it’s probably a bit better for you because of that.

There isn’t exact cooking instructions on the recipe but we baked our pizzas in a really hot oven- around 240c for about 8-10 mins each or until they are all crispy and golden. We used a thick baking sheet with foil on top- make sure you put it in the oven to preheat before.

So be a little bit more open minded than I was and try making home made pizza, as the results are delicious. We also froze some of the dough and used it a few days later- it tasted just as good.
After the success of this little experiment we have even invested in a pizza stone, so will let you know how that turns out! Enjoy x

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5 Australian things I can’t live without…

Sometimes it can be tough living so far away from home and my family, but having lived in London for quite some years now I think I’ve become acclimatised to being away from Australia. There are however, some Australian bits and pieces that I just couldn’t live without and because of their fabulousness I felt the need to share.

Lucas Papaw Ointment


This little multi-purpose gem has been a long standing obsession of mine, mainly because it makes the BEST lip balm ever. It’s a natural remedy made in Queensland from 100% papaya and its uses are endless (seriously- this is what the packaging says: burns, chafing, cuts, cracked skin, splinters, wounds, rashes, insect bites and nappy rash). I really couldn’t overstate its brilliance here if I tried. I pretty much have a tube of papaw to hand at all times- handbag, bedside table, work desk, bathroom cabinet- and I wouldn’t go on holiday without it. It’s readily available in all chemists and supermarkets in Australia but you can also buy it through amazon and websites like http://www.pawpawshop.co.uk/ in the UK. Get yourself a tube asap- you know what they say, if its good enough for Miranda Kerr…

Bill Granger

Bill Granger’s cookbooks are my food bibles and go-to reference when I need a bit of inspiration in the kitchen. Bill is a self taught Sydney chef (originally from Melbourne- like all the best people are!) who has a series of casual restaurants in Australia. Excitingly, he has also recently opened a restaurant in London- Granger & Co which I am dying to try (blog post about that coming soon!).
Bill has published lots of recipe books over the years (I have a grand total of 4 of them- all fantastic) and his recipes are simple, tasty and always impressive looking, particularly if you’re cooking for friends. My favourite of the books I have is Bill’s Basics which has so many great staple recipes which I can’t help but come back to time and time again

Flat whites

Melbourne coffee is the best. There I’ve said it- its a fact. The cafe culture in Melbourne is world class, and I love going to cute cafes when I’m at home and reading a magazine over a flat white which is a small, strong and smooth white coffee.
Happily, the flat white phenomenon has recently spread to London and there are now a few places where you can get a great coffee here. My favourites are Lantana on Charlotte Place and Flat White on Berwick St- both of them are Australian so you can have a little taste of the cafe culture from down under right in the heart of London.

Junior Masterchef Australia

While trawling the dregs of the Sky channels a few months ago I stumbled across a little program called Junior Masterchef Australia. We all know about Masterchef UK, and even Junior Masterchef UK- but the Australian version is in a league of its own. The children to be perfectly blunt are a little bit freaky- they are REALLY into cooking. Weirdly into it for 11 year olds. These little kids make amazing looking food like vanilla infused scallops and duck larb and are even cooking with Tetsuya. These Australian chefling prodigies make for very compelling viewing- did I mention they’re only 11?!

Swimmers

Whenever I take a trip home to Australia I’m usually on the look out for some new swimmers (or swimming costume to non Australians). Australia has some brilliant swimwear brands- I think the best, but I am probably biased. I think Australian swimmers are generally better quality and the patterns and designs are a little bit more exciting. My favourite brands are Seafolly (I even have the pair in the picture- I’ll have to keep up the pilates if I want to look as good as that girl though!) and Tigerlily. I also got a great one-piece at Country Road last time I was home. Swimmers from these places are probably slightly more pricey than in the UK, but if you look after them properly (never put them in the washing machine people- only rinse under cold water!) they’ll last for ages.

I hope this has made you want to visit Australia, writing it has made me a little bit homesick! Enjoy x

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Lamington Love

When I decided to venture into the wonderful world of blogging I wanted to come up with a blog name that reflected a bit about me. London Lamington was a little bit Australian and a little bit English so seemed to fit the bill quite nicely. Plus it had alliteration involved- even better in my view. The only problem that has presented itself is that, whilst I would associate Lamingtons as being something quintessentially Australian most of my English friends have absolutely no idea what they are. As a result, trying to tell people about my blog usually is met with the response of ‘London huh?’.

So I thought I would try to unveil some of the mystery around the lovely lamington by making a few. Lamingtons are basically a sponge or butter cake which sometimes has jam (my fav), or cream, or sometimes nothing in the middle and is then dipped in a thin chocolate coating and rolled in coconut- and most importantly they are yummy!

I have to admit- this was my first time making them from scratch. You can buy lamingtons pretty much anywhere in Australia, but getting that taste of home in London requires a little bit more effort. This is how I did it…

Start off by making a sponge or butter cake. I used this recipe:

  • 125g butter, softened
  • ¾ cup caster sugar
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups self raising flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • ½ cup of milk
  1. Preheat your oven to 180C and line the base of a greased 27cm x 18cm tin with baking paper.
  2. Cream the butter and gradually add the sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy.
  3. Gradually beat in the slightly beaten eggs, adding them one at a time, and beating until well-incorporated before adding the next. Add in the vanilla extract
  4. Sift the flour and salt together (you can do this a few times, which will help to make the cake lighter).
  5. Gently fold the flour and salt into the creamed butter mixture, alternating the flour with the milk, be careful not to overwork the mixture.
  6. Spread the mixture evenly in the prepared tins and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until cooked through (a skewer will come out clean).
The sponge cake is a little bit more of a denser sponge than I would usually make and I was a bit apprehensive when I first took it out of the oven. But actually because of the chocolate coating it actually works quite well as you don’t want a cake which is going to crumble to pieces when you dip it in chocolate and roll it in coconut. If your sponge is very light and delicate, probably best to leave it overnight before you move to the topping phase. 

Topping

  • 300g (2 cups) icing sugar mixture (sifted)
  • 35g (1/3 cup) cocoa powder (sifted)
  • 60ml (1/4 cup) milk
  • 60ml (1/4 cup) boiling water
  • Desiccated coconut for coating

Once your sponge has cooled entirely start making your topping by combining all the ingredients listed above (apart from the coconut!). Whisk the mixture to get rid of any lumps. It will be a really runny chocolate icing- but this is what you want when you dip the cake in so it can soak up all the chocolate-ness.

Cut your sponge into even sided cubes or oblongs. Make sure to cut all the crusts off the outside of the cake so it can soak in more of the icing. You can cut your piece of cake in half like a sandwich a put jam and/or cream in the middle if you want to, or just leave it plain (I think the best is with strawberry or raspberry jam!).

Once you’ve got all your cakes cut out you’re ready for the messy phase! You need to do this 1 cake at a time. Start by dipping your cake in the chocolate mixture, leave it in there for about 15-30 seconds so it soaks in the chocolate. You can do this with 2 forks or spoons but I think its much easier to just use your hands. Take the cake out of the chocolate and let any excess icing drip off. Then roll the cake in a bowl of dessicated coconut (when I was telling my mum about this afterwards, she quite rightly pointed out that it would have been much easier to put the coconut in a big ziplock bag and do the coating that way….). You should get a thin layer of coconut on the top, so shake off any of the excess and then put the cakes on a cake cooling rack to set (or just eat them straight away!) Enjoy x

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Bank Holiday Breakfast

It must be the bank holiday weekend vibes which inspired me to take a little bit more care than normal with this morning’s breakfast.  I had a taste for pancakes when I woke up so consulted my current food bible of choice- Bill Granger’s ‘Bills Basics’.

Bill Granger is an Australian chef (of course!) and his recipes are so simple but always so tasty and impressive looking. These pancakes are way more luxurious and fluffy than the standard pancakes I used to make, yet the recipe is surprisingly easy. Don’t be put off by the requirement for buttermilk either, as there is a great cheat tip where you can create your own buttermilk with normal milk and lemon juice.

Ingredients

2 tablespoons lemon juice + 300ml milk (or 300ml buttermilk)
200g plain flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons caster sugar
2 eggs lightly beaten
30g butter, melted and cooled, plus extra for cooking

Method

Stir together the lemon juice and milk and let it stand for 5 mins (or just use the buttermilk instead if you can find it/are organised enough to have it at home in preparation for pancake craving!).
Stir together the flour, baking powder, sugar, eggs, melted butter and a pinch of salt. Stir in the milk and lemon juice or buttermilk.
Cook the pancakes in a large non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. Use 2-3 tablespoons of batter for each pancake. Cook the pancakes for 2 mins until bubbles appear on the surface and then flip over and cook for 1 min on the other side.

Top with good old lemon and sugar, or for something a bit different I tried mine with greek yoghurt and honey which was delicious. Enjoy!

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