Pavlova is one of my favourtie desserts, it was even when I wasn’t a fan of fruity desserts (which is definitely no longer the case); it is also a favourite of many people I know including my dad, one of James’ sisters and his mum. There was no question of what to bake for James’ sister’s birthday in that case, which happened whilst we were staying up in Scotland with them. It was a week and a half of chilling out, eating, shopping, seeing friends and family and it was scrumptious.
I’ve been wanting to up my meringue game recently, having only stuck with egg whites and sugar in the past but having seen recipes with cornflour and white wine vinegar, I was eager to try out these tips. I decided to tweak the recipe I’d found by making the middle meringue a chocolate meringue. One meringue stuck slightly (I used baking paper, not greaseproof) and just wasn’t very pretty but thankfully that was the bottom layer! Phew.
Let’s talk about streusel, I have only just realised it was basically crumble. The recipes I’ve glanced over and not read because it said streusel when I absolutely LOVE crumble but didn’t know is a little painful but I have been enlightened after spotting this beaut of a recipe from Brooklyn Homemaker; I’ve mixed it up a bit by doubling the amount of fruit (but halving the variety, I only used strawberries) and making it gluten free. The combination of basil and strawberries is one of my favourites and it is some coincidence that I went back to the place where I first ever tried the combination (Edinburgh, we’re holidaying there again this week) the day before spotting this recipe. Fate.
Also, photographing in natural light (we live in a basement flat) as we we’re staying with James’ family was a delight, at 8pm there was still enough light to get a decent photo. Bliss.
So, I thought I’d break up the constant stream of cakes there has been lately with a breakfast dish; we’ll pretend that it isn’t a dessert inspired breakfast dish. I promise I will start posting savoury, healthy dishes again soon as I’m determined to get re-inspired and back on track but life has been hectic and I’ve been cooking the old faithful dishes (and baking a lot of cake too, as you know). I made this crumble one Friday night ready to pop in the oven on Saturday morning, a plan that I was most grateful for when I woke up.
You could use any fruit for this, I went for berries; the crumble is a more oaty and less sugary than traditional crumble topping and has some flaked almonds thrown in for good measure. I hadn’t heard of breakfast crumble before and thought I’d had a great new idea, since then it is all I’ve seen on the internet but I am not complaining, the more the merrier.
Fear not, no zebras were harmed in the making of this cake. Several weeks ago a friend of mine finished some exams and if that doesn’t call for cake then I don’t know what does. It was midweek though and I had to make a cake with ingredients I had in the cupboard. I flicked through my reliable and go to cake book Cake Keeper Cakes; I spotted this cake in there and thought it looked fun and knew that it’d be pretty tasty if it is was from that book, it hasn’t failed me yet. I failed it though by using a 8 inch cake tin and not the 9 inch tin suggested which threw out the cooking times somewhat.
It definitely was tasty and it had a hugely satisfying cake texture, dense but not heavy, dense in a good way – the best way.
This cake is worth making for the icing alone, the coffee buttercream is so, so delicious. This cake came about because my mum had been having pain in her shoulder and not being a doctor, I prescribed cake instead. Cake fixes everything, right? Especially when there is a pot of tea to go with it. I looked through my cook book ‘The Best-ever Book of Cakes’ (a title that surprisingly is not too far from the truth) looking for something with coffee in it and voilà, I spotted this gem that has 3 of my mum’s favourite flavours in it. I tweaked it very slightly but the recipe is almost straight out of the book.
When is comes to baking, there are few people’s whose attitudes to butter and sugar I admire more than Joy the Baker‘s. When I am looking for a good solid recipe or for inspiration, Joy’s blog and cookbook are my first ports of call. Recently Joy posted a recipe for these brownies and I knew I had to recreate them. If Joy gives a baking tip, you can be sure that I am going to take it (especially when it is an adapted David Lebovitz recipe).
(Excuse the photo, there was no natural light that day and I certainly wasn’t going to wait until there was to eat them!)
I have been metaphorically swimming in cakes recently, which if true would be lovely but it just seems that way because whilst I’ve been inspired by new bakes; when it comes to savoury food, I’ve been lacking in inspiration (funny, cake inspiration never runs out). Come the evening when I get in from work I want something quick because I’m hungry or I’m about to dash back out of the door again. Last Sunday though I made some fresh spelt tagliatelle, having read through the beautiful Food 52 – Genius Recipes book, ready for Monday’s dinner. It is the first recipe I’ve made from this book but there are so many I can’t wait to try.
The concept of the book is fab, it is the collection of the 100 most popular ‘genius’ recipes from the ‘genius recipes’ feature on the Food 52 website, these are breakthrough recipes of everyday dishes.
I’m a sucker for a vegetarian meal, whilst James is more of a meat eater but he really enjoyed this meal, saying that it reminded him of carbonara (with a longing of look for crispy bacon lardons in his eyes though, perhaps!). It was more refreshing than carbonara, I love the tangy edge the yogurt gives to the dish when combined with the saltiness of the cheese and the sweetness of the onions. Perfection.