• 11Nov

    This week we went to London and visited our favourite chocolate place one of Paul A. Young’s shops. This time we went for the one in the one at The Royal Exchange. I just love the smell – it doesn’t smell of fat like most chocolate places but more of the warm spiced cocoa that I imagine the Aztecs and the Incas had.

    Sarah Snell-Pym in a Paul A. Young Chocolate Shop

    My husband got me chocolate covered coffee beans which he has hidden from me so I don’t scoff the little delicates! To me they have slightly too much chocolate on but are a much nicer roast of bean than the ones you pick up in Neros. When you go to Paul’s shops or watch him on Youtube (like when your struggling to make nice chocolates for you little girls birthday coughs) you get a real sense of this is chocolate as an art form. The prices of course reflect this but I would rather save up and have these chocs than loads of the other stuff and too be honest I should not be eating a lot of the sweet stuff anyway!

    I also could not resist the book on chocolate that he’s written – I am planning to make chocolates for christmas after my resent successes with the process (I was heating the chocolate above its tempering point I didn’t know it existed nor that you could put it back or not heat above it to melt the choc so my chocolates were basically melting at room temp and their surfaces were all marred by just removing them from the moulds and they were not crisp but like an over warm chocolate bar you’ve left in the glove compartment). The book is full of ideas I can’t wait to try :)

    Chocolate and chocolate book by Paul A. Young

    I was also given a bunch of moulds by a friend who is moving to america at the end of the year. Roll on the chocolate tasting erm testing erm making erm eating.

    My husband bought himself some Marmite chocolate – Paul’s chocolate is the only stuff he will eat. He has also promised to try and get the book signed for me – which would be lovely.

    (Galaxy chocolate is still best for chocolate fondue!)

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  • 29Oct

    Jean selecting a diddy pumpkin from Primrose Vale Farm Shop

    Primrose Vale Farm Shop has this excellent pumpkin sorter which my kids love! They also have soooo many pumpkins and squashes it is unbelievable. They also had rather tasty apple turnovers which were covered in water icing and chocolate drizzel. They always have a fantastic lot of cakes and things and I also picked up some halloween paster too.

    Witches eat breakfast at Primrose Vale Farm Shop

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  • 07Aug

    Rose Cake close up

    I made these lovely English Rose cup cakes to represent the poses being given out at the Olympics and also as something pretty I could take along to my friends birthday party :)

    They are my a mix of my fresh strawberry cupcakes and chocolate chip cup cakes.

    The icing is butter cream:

    250 g of goats butter

    I start off by adding 100g of icing sugar and then blend it in and continue to add more until the mix is starting to not blend and more. Then I added two teaspoons of rose water for a lovely hint of turkish delight. This blended in gave just the right consistency for piping the icing. I then used strong disposable icing bags with the ends snipped off and a large start nozzle poked to the end.

    I then used a wooden skewer to smear a different food colouring in each bag. I used blue, yellow and the red looking ones were actually a peach colour. These are gell food colourings and not the liquid ones. I then put a third of the icing sugar into each bag and did a spiral out from the middle – I went quiet fast to get the rose effect.

    Two tone blue rose cupcakes Rose cakes on a plate English Rose cakes in cake stand

    English Rose Cakes

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  • 06Aug

    Strawberry and white chocolate sport and GB cupcakes

    These cupcakes were made with fresh strawberries!

    250 g of softened goats butter

    250 g of caster sugar

    300 g of self raising flour

    1 teaspoon of baking powder

    4 eggs

    I creamed all these together and then pre heat the oven to gas mark 4 (180 degrees C) and chopped the punnet of strawberries which I then mixed in gentle to the cake mix. I put a dollop in each cake case and baked in three batches for 30 minutes on the middle shelf of the oven.

    Strawberries

    strawberries in the mix

    Fresh Strawberry Cupcakes

    After they had cooled I decorated with with molten white chocolate and sprinkles – the flower design was done using an icing nozzle which is just a slit or letter box shape.

    Cake Topping

    Large bar of white chocolate or white chocolate like cake topping

    Red, white and blue sprinkles or some kind.

    White chocolate covered strawberry cupcakes Red, White and Blue sprinkles White Flower topped strawberry cake

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  • 27Jul

    Edible Olympic Rings

    I made these ring cakes to celebrate the Olympics today – I put cake mix in our doughnut maker.

    250 g of caster sugar

    250 g of softened butter

    250 g of self raising flour

    4 eggs (I only had two unfortunately which maybe why my didn’t rise correctly)

    4 table spoons of milk

    1 table spoon of vanilla extract

    I creamed these ingredients together and snipped the end off of a disposable piping bag and filled it the cake mix. I then pipped this into the doughnut machine. I had to do a bit of trial and error to work out a good amount. I found filling the troughs up and closing the machine for 7 minutes worked best. I had an issue with them falling to pieces as I was trying get them out of the machine but found that if I slightly over filled so that an apron of escape mix surrounded each ring then I could use this to pull the rings out. I then snipped the excess cake off with scissors.

    putting the cake mix into the icing bag using an icing bag to put cake mis in the doughnut machine cake mix in the doughnut maker cooked ring cakes with over flow of mix Ring cakes cooling trimming the edges of the ring cakes Ring cakes ready to go

    I then poured out a bit of fondant icing mix into five bowls and added food colouring for each of the different rings of the Olympic flag. I then added a bit of water to each until I got the correct consistancy. I then duked the rings and popped them into some nice cake cases that I thought matched the abstract sporty look I was going for.

    Icing sugar ready to go Olympic ring coloured icing

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  • 26Jul

    Olympic Coloured Cup Cake Swirl

    I decided to make cup cakes to celebrate the Olympics as they are about to start here in the UK.

    I started by baking vanilla cupcakes.

    Then I made up some butter icing – in this case I used goats butter as it tend to be a lot paler and so gives a whiter icing.

    300 g of icing sugar

    150 g of butter

    1 table spoon of orange extract

    A little milk

    Blend the sugar and butter together, add the extract and drizzle a little bit of milk in at a time until it goes a nice creamy consistency.

    Then prepare the icing bag. I use the easy grip, ultra strong disposables as I found weaker ones brake and the non disposable ones kept splitting after one use anyway.

    I cut the end off and popped a large nozzle with lots of thing spikes on it (hopefully I will add a photo later as trying to describe it is hard!). I then placed the bag nozzle down into a tall glass. I then dipped a wooden skewer into gell food colourings representing the five colours of the Olympic Rings and dragged them along the inside of the icing back in a line (one at a time!). This ment I ended up with a five coloured star coming up from the nozzle. I then spooned the icing into the bag, twisted the end shut and began icing.

    Icing Bag with the food colouring added for Olympic Icing

    I started at the edge of some of the cakes and came round in a spiral to created a mounded ice cream effect. Others I started in the middle and worked my way out moving the nozzle around relatively fast to create a flowery effect.

    It think it worked really well.

    Olympic Coloured Cup Cakes Five Olympic Ring Coloured Cup Cakes

    I mixed them in with other sporty influenced cakes.

    Olympic and Sporty Cupcakes

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  • 06Dec

    EXPLANATION OF FRENCH TERMS USED IN MODERN HOUSEHOLD COOKERY.

    ASPIC: A savoury jelly, used as an exterior moulding for cold game, poultry, fish, &c. This, being of a transparent nature, allows the bird which it covers to be seen through it. This may also be used for decorating or garnishing.

    ASSIETTE (plate): Assiettes are the small entrées and hors-d’oeuvres, the quantity of which does not exceed what a plate will hold. At dessert, fruits, cheese, chestnuts, biscuits, if served upon a plate, are termed assiettes. ASSIETTE VOLANTE is a dish which a servant hands round to the guests, but is not placed upon the table. Small cheese soufflés and different dishes, which ought to be served very hot, are frequently made assielles volantes.

    AU-BLEU: Fish dressed in such a manner as to have a bluish appearance.

    BAIN-MARIE: An open saucepan or kettle of nearly boiling water, in which a smaller vessel can be set for cooking and warming. This is very useful for keeping articles hot, without altering their quantity or quality. If you keep sauce, broth, or soup by the fireside, the soup reduces and becomes too strong, and the sauce thickens as well as reduces; but this is prevented by using the bain-marie, in which the water should be very hot, but not boiling.

    BÉCHAMEL: French white sauce, now frequently used in English cookery.

    BLANCH: To whiten poultry, vegetables, fruit, by plunging them into boiling water for a short time, and afterwards plunging them into cold water, there to remain until they are cold.

    BLANQUETTE: A sort of fricassee.

    BOUILLI: Beef or other meat boiled; but, generally speaking, boiled beef is understood by the term.

    BOUILLIE: A French dish resembling hasty-pudding.

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  • 01Nov

    WHILST THE COOK IS ENGAGED WITH HER MORNING DUTIES, the kitchen-maid is also occupied with hers. Her first duty, after the fire is lighted, is to sweep and clean the kitchen, and the various offices belonging to it. This she does every morning, besides cleaning the stone steps at the entrance of the house, the halls, the passages, and the stairs which lead to the kitchen. Her general duties, besides these, are to wash and scour all these places twice a week, with the tables, shelves, and cupboards. She has also to dress the nursery and servants’-hall dinners, to prepare all fish, poultry, and vegetables, trim meat joints and cutlets, and do all such duties as may be considered to enter into the cook’s department in a subordinate degree.

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  • 25Oct

    A spooky table spread

    Last year for Halloween we put our red Christmas table cloth on the table with a spider web black table cover we picked up in the Pound Shop. I then laid out the merangues me and my four year old had made – they were supposed to be ghouls, ghosts and witches in green, white and purple but where generally splodges with more icing splotches on them!

    We also had biscuits with spider webs and bats on that she had decorated as well.

    We had two different punches, one in a skull bowl and one in a hollowed out pumpkin!

    We also had a pumpkin pasty and a pumpkin pie to add to the party!

  • 18Oct

    Pumpkin Jelly

    The jelly molds didn’t work which was a shame as I had wanted some nice orange pumpkin shaped jellies for our Halloween things :(

    Not sure if this is a me issue or the mold :/