Saturday, 26 January 2013

Chunky Chocolate Orange Cookies

The problem with having Comic Relief Bake Offs all week is that it makes you want to bake things (when you should be working). I’m not really complaining though, because no weekend is complete without a bit of baking. I thought I’d make some cookies because I hardly ever made biscuits. These are banging, and taste best still warm from the oven.


9oz butter

2oz caster sugar

3 1/2oz light muscovado sugar

10oz self-raising flour

2tbsp milk

8oz of chocolate (I used a mixture of plain and dark infused with orange)

Zest of 1 orange

Preheat the oven to 180⁰C. Line a couple baking trays with baking parchment.

In a large mixing bowl cream together the butter and sugar.

Stir in the flour and milk, mixing well.

Add the grated zest of the orange.

Roughly chop the chocolate, and stir everything in.

The mixture makes around 18 cookies so place large blobs, well-spaced out, onto the baking trays, leaving room for them to spread. Flatten the tops gently with your fingertips.

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden. They will still feel soft in the middle. Cool them on the trays for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Simple Carrot Cake

I had a massive craving for carrot cake after we demolished one the other night made by my friend’s granny (called Betty, what a swag granny name), and since we had an army of carrots left over from Sunday dinner, I thought why the heck not? This is a simple carrot cake, the way I like it- no raisins, no funny business. I might have added some orange zest if I had any oranges, but I didn’t so there you go.  


125g self-raising flour

200g dark brown soft sugar

175ml vegetable/sunflower oil

2 eggs

175g grated carrots

60g walnuts, roughly chopped

½ teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon ginger

Cream cheese and icing sugar to decorate

Firstly I have no idea how I’ve gone this long without blogging about a carrot cake- I actually searched my own posts to look for a recipe and there wasn’t one…Secondly, the measurements are a bit weird but that’s because the recipe is originally double the amount to make a round sandwich cake but I didn’t want one that big.

Line a square of loaf tin with baking parchment. Preheat the oven to 180⁰C.

In a large mixing bowl combine the flour, sugar and spices.

Lightly beat the eggs and add them to the oil. Create a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the eggy oil. Mix everything together.

Finely chop the walnuts and add them to the mixture.

Finally add the grated carrots, mix everything well and pour into the tin.

Bake for 30-35 minutes although be warned that depending on the size of your tin this could take longer. You can see the knife marks where I’ve repeatedly stabbed my cake wondering if it was bloody well cooked yet or not. The cake is done when a knife or skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Cool the cake on a wire rack and when it’s ready make the topping.

Cream a large blob of cream cheese in a bowl and add sifted icing sugar until it forms a thick consistency. Smooth all over the cake and decorate with walnut halves if you like.

Absolutely to be consumed with a cup of tea or coffee (or if you’re like me, wine).

Monday, 14 January 2013

Hairy Biker's Skinny Lemon and Blueberry Cupcakes

It’s January so obviously everyone is on a diet because that’s apparently how England spends the first month of every year. I don’t mind though because it gives me an excuse to try out some more recipes from The Hairy Dieters book, which my dad bought after watching the programme. I will admit I’m a bit sceptical about ‘skinny cupcakes’ because how many skinny people do you ever see actually eating cake?

At 167 calories per cake (I have no idea if this is a good thing or not) I suppose the point is some cake is better than no cake at all. I will warn you though, the texture of these are really weird. It reminds me more of a banana muffin or crumpet texture than an actual cake.

200g self-raising flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
75g golden caster sugar
100g blueberries
Zest of 1 lemon
2 eggs
150ml low-fat natural yogurt
50ml sunflower oil
100g icing sugar
4-5 tsp lemon juice
Preheat the oven to 180⁰C. Line a 12 hole cupcake tray with paper cases.
Measure out the flour into a large mixing bowl and add the bicarbonate of soda.

Stir in the blueberries, sugar and lemon zest.

Beat the eggs with a fork and then add to the oil and yoghurt.

Create a well in the dry ingredients and tip the wet ones in. Quickly and gently combine everything together.

Spoon the batter into the paper cases and bake for 16-18 minutes or until golden brown and risen. Leave them to cool on a wire rack.

To make the topping mix the icing sugar and lemon juice together and spread on top. Leave the icing to set a little before eating.

Personally I think I’d rather eat a buttery bad-for-you cupcake every once in a while rather than one of these regularly…but that’s just me.

Tuesday, 8 January 2013


I perhaps unwisely offered to make fresh croissants for breakfast for everybody the Sunday before Christmas. It was more like croissants for lunch because I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. I also stupidly didn’t read the recipe properly and didn’t realise that it takes blady ages (like 2 days, no joke). I will admit though, it was totally worth it in the end. They were amazing fresh out of the oven and worth every bit of slightly tipsy pastry rolling that I did. They‘re seriously bad for your arteries though so it’s not something I would do all the time, but hey ho you’re allowed at Christmas, right?

500g strong white bread flour
10g salt
80g caster sugar
10g instant yeast
300ml cool water
300ml chilled unsalted butter
1 medium egg
First of all this recipe involves an overnight chilling, so you really need to start it the evening before you actually want to eat them.
Put the flour into a large mixing bowl, and add the salt and sugar to one side and the yeast to the other.

Add the water and mix using a dough hook attachment on a slow speed for 2 minutes, and then a medium speed for 6 minutes.

Tip the dough out onto a floured work surface, dust the ball in flour and place in a plastic bag. Leave to chill in the fridge for an hour.

On a floured surface roll out the dough into a large rectangle, about 1 cm thick.

Squash the butter flat using the rolling pin.

Put the butter on the dough so that it covers around two thirds of the dough.

Fold the third of dough without butter over one third of the butter.

Gently cut off the last bit of butter, being careful not to cut the dough and place it on top of the folded dough. Fold the bottom half of the dough up so that you are left with a sort of dough/butter sandwich. Pinch the edges to seal it and put it back into the plastic bag, and chill for an hour.

Place the dough sandwich onto a lightly floured work surface and the short end facing towards you.

Roll it out into a rectangle about the same size as before.

Fold up one third of the dough, and then fold the top third down onto that so that you make a square. Put the dough back into the bag and chill in the fridge for another hour.

Repeat this twice more, putting the dough back into the fridge for an hour between each fold.

After the final roll and fold, leave the dough in the fridge for at least 8 hours or overnight.

In the morning, line 2/3 baking trays with baking parchment.
Place the dough onto a floured surface and roll out to a large rectangle, around 7mm thick.

Cut the rectangle into two long halves. Out of these cut 6 triangles along each strip.

To roll, hold down the wide base of the triangle and tug the thin end to create some tension in the dough. Start at the fat end of the triangle and roll up into a croissant. Turn the edges slightly inwards and place onto the prepared baking tray.

When you’ve rolled all the croissants, place the trays inside plastic bags and leave to rise at a cool room temperature for about 2 hours, or until doubled in size.

Heat the oven to 200⁰C.

Beat the egg and add a pinch of salt. Use a pastry brush to lightly paint the egg wash onto the croissants, and then bake for 15-20 minutes or until gloriously, golden brown.

Cool them on a wire rack and then eat them whilst they’re still warm. You could put jam or chocolate spread on them or something if you’re mad, but to be honest they’re pretty darn good as they are.