Category Archives: Cooking

Soup love


I’m developing quite a love of soup. I never really used to like it. It just seemed a bit watery, lack lustre and ho hum, not the warm, fulfilling, homely concoction most people seem to know. However that changed last year when, going through yet another of my healthy eating phases and being enticed by the microwave I now had access to in the sixth form, I decided to start bringing in soup from home. Yummy. Let me tell you, the soup for lunch has lasted a lot longer than any of my healthy eating stages put together. It is warm. It is tasty. It is delicious. And, according to Ludwig van beethoven, soup is even a test of character:

Anyone who tells a lie has not a pure heart, and cannot make a good soup.


Croque – en – Bouche or Tales from a Mutinous Kitchen


Inspired by our great love of culinery adventures and The Great British Bake Off season two, my friend and I (Also called Hannah!) decided to tackle that great monument of choux pastry and french weddings – the Croque – en -Bouche (also spelt croquembouche!). For those who have not yet met this esteemed delicacy, it is quite literally a mound of profiteroles, filled with a creme patissiere (in our case chocolate flavoured) and bound together into what is hopefully a cone by using caramel. After all, its name literally does mean crack in the mouth. Delish.

I started off with visions such as the following floating before my eyeballs:

The other Hannah did eventually manage to talk me down from such dizzying heights but not before showing me this gem of a photo:

Yep, one whole wedding dress made out of croque-en-bouche. Now thats dedication. Especially from the lass in question – she wouldn’t have been able to sit down the whole time!

So, having decided on a more modest sized croque-en-bouche we found our recipe – we used this one – and got going. Disregard the 35 minutes prep, 15 minutes cooking time frame. Believe me, this sucker is an all day project! Feeling fresh and prepared, having picked up some ingredients at saisburys which we never actually used, we cracked on with the choux pastry. Inside out piping bags, gloopy mixture and over acheiving profiteroles were to await us.

As my scales weren’t working, we had to do a bit of an internet translation job into cups which took a little bit of brain power, but thankfully we suceeded a happily decided to pipe the profiterole idea Bad idea. Slightly too runny mixture had me with a finger up the piping bag nozzle (no euphamisms please ๐Ÿ˜‰ as my friend desperately tried to fill the rest of the bag up. Only to realise it was inside out. Whoopsie. not to be deterred we womanfully continued on with the perilous job. With rather fewer than expected, we sat down to discuss interrailing and waited for the grand profiterole reveal. Well, the profiteroles were certainly grande if not quite grand! They had clearly had a bit of a rebellion in the oven and decided that profiterolling wasn’t for them – no they wanted to be yorkshire puddings!

The Mutinous Profiteroles - so mutinous that they wouldn't even sit still for a decent photograph on their own

Taking a few deep breaths to calm ourselves, we moved swiftly forward. The making of the creme patissiere was when the internet conversion really to a dislike to us. It translated 30 grams of flour into 4 tablespoons. Unfortunately we were half way through before we decided that might not actually be correct. We rectified the problem in a suitably slap dash way – just add a bit more milk and another egg and it chould all be fine. Maybe even a little bit more chocolate for good measure. It was thankfully and we actually created something quite tasty which had the resemblance of chocolate custard. As we piped it into yorkshire pudding look alikes the piping bag decided to divorce the piping nozzle. Not that I like to interrupt private affairs but waiting a little bit longer wouldn’t have been so bad. We resorted to teaspoons.

Anyone want beef with that?

Now for the caramel. I think the food gods were against us because the caramel prroved to be the most devilish bit of it all! Who would have thought that melting together a bit of sugar and water would nearly defeat us in the home run. Our first batch wanted to run before it could walk, turning golden well before all the sugar was melted. That said it would probably have been all right if it hadn’t turned on us. The second bacth tried my non-stiring patience to the limitl. It was just so hard to resist the urge to stir (which apparently causes crystalisation); I think I need to invest in some handcuffs!

The two batches

It worked in the end though!

It spread the whole length of the kitchen! Do you like my crazy flowery apron by the way?

And so, the profiteroles were assembled, the caramel set and the spung sugar adding just a leetle bit of height. *Drum roll please* TADAAAAAAAA!!!!!!

Look! It turned out pretty - we tamed the mutinous profiteroles!

Spun sugar - working just like a hat on a short person!

And so the adventure ended. The kitchen was finally tamed (if not cleared up). And all that was left was devouring. And then. Well, then, there was none.

Stir up Sunday!


Well, you may have noticed that its not atually Sunday or indeed Stir up Sunday but it seemes to be a fitting title for todays post. I’ve just nipped back to bed (it is the first day of half term after all!) after a quick stir of the christmas pudding mixture. It smells absolutely divine (unfortunately the camera isn’t charged so i can’t show you a picture of the mixture)!Anyway, traditionally speaking Stir-up-Sunday happened in the Anglican church, the sunday before advent started. The opening words of the service (the collect) was: Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people; that they, plenteously bringing forth the fruit of good works, may of thee be plenteously rewarded; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

This phrase then became connected with stirring up the christmas pudding and children were often heard chanting on the way home:

Stir up, we beseech thee, the pudding in the pot;
And when we get home we’ll eat the lot.

I think I prefer the childrens version myself; short and to the point ๐Ÿ˜‰ Then the chritmas pudding would be stirred from east to west in honour of the wise men, while everyone made a wish! So yes, we are a tad early but making the christmas pudding and the mincemeat etc. is always a half term tradtion in my family and of course, family tradition takes precedent.

For those of you who want to stick with this tradition, Stir up Sunday is on the 20th November this year.

Cupcakes :)


Well, I am dog tired right now. I spent the day at Black Country Living History museum with my mum and youngest brother – It was great fun but boy, day trips don’t half take it out of you. And so Iย  will leave the museum gushing and fantabulous fish and chips to another post. Instead, I will leave you with some cupcakes as eye candy.

I made these darlings last monday? sunday? after I had spent much time perusing cake pops etc. etc. I didn’t have the right ingredients to venture into cake pops so instead I made some Lemon Cupcakes and some Psychadelic Blue Isaac Cupcakes. Yes, I did write Psychadelic Blue Isaac Cupcakes. All will be revealed ๐Ÿ˜‰

The Lemon Cupcakes were made from the hummingbird bakery cookbook and turned out very nicely indeed. I had to do a bit of modifying as I didn’t have all the ingredients (used a tablesppon of lemon juice as I didn’t have enought lemon peel and I used self-raising flour instead of plain flour and baking powder – in fact can any one tell me what the real difference is between self-raising and baking powder+plain flour- does it taste different? cook differently?) but I was really pleased. I’d never made a cake with milk in it before so it was leaping out into the beyond ๐Ÿ˜›

And then for the Psychadelic Blue Isaac Cupcakes. Well…these were just me fooling around because I wanted to do some more baking. Because theres nothing better than a bit of cupcake baking right? So I decided to add some blue and green food coulouring into the mix. Four different shades to be precise. And then layer them up. Well, thats all very well Hannah you say, thats the blue bit sorted. But what about the Psychadelic and Isaac part? Well, Isaac is my brother. Who goes slightly crazy at E numbers and ice cream. These were the perfect cake to set him off – although, perhaps this is a bit unfair on him – I don’t think my mum even allowed him to have one!!! And as for the psychadelic bit – well (I’m liking that word far to much!), have a look at them and tell me they don’t look psychadelic!

A bit of funky (well trying to be funky) outside photography

A bite mark? Me? No....

See? Clearly psychadelic even when masquerading with sophisticated mickey mouse expresso (it is expresso, right?) mugs.

Bon Apetit!



I’m sorry. I really am. I know you popped in here, maybe to find out what I’m about, maybe by an unfortunate accident or coincidence or maybe, in my two posts so far because you already love this blog (probably the most unlikely I concede). You were then, admit it, going to carry on with your lives. And there I go thrusting warm, freshly -home!!! -made, crispy, sugared and cinnamoned doughnuts right in your face.

I know. I know. You are probably now craving doughnuts by the seaside, cinnamon toast, candy floss and all manner of delightful things. I know I am and I’ve already eaten at least half a dozen doughnuts! For a late breakfast. But you are better now that I’ve shared aren’t you? You couldn’t really have gone through your life without the delectable sight of my breakfast could?

Thank you little brother for being a talented cook who always wants to try out new things. Thank you for creating these suculent morsels of doughnut….

Okay, I’m being cruel now so I’ll stop. But seriously, find yourself a doughnut recipe and make it – you won’t regret it! If you want this particular recipe get yourdelf a copy of Really Revolting Recipes which is the Roald Dhal cook book thing. Some other good fun recipes in there as well, although I’m not sure how much I’d like to eat many of them!

Also, just to let you know it wasn’t always hunky dorey when making these I had a bit of a panic at our first attempt. They came out burnt on the outside yet doughy and uncooked in the middle; as I had read this story yesterday you can understand my panicked assumption that they were all going to be like that – but they weren’t so I was very happy – just make sure that the oil is hot but not too hot!

Anyway, I will leave you all with the taste of cinnamon and sugar and crispy, soft doughnuts melting in the mouth and a few pictures of the chaos of it all:

Frying 'em up

The chef and mum & the trusty thermometer - thanks aunty Helen!

Just to tempt you again...

And finally....the destruction!

Cake Pops


Okay. Okay. I’m probably just really slow and really behind the times (or maybe just English, who, in general, don’t do cupcakes like the americans) but yesterday, sometime around midnight I found *drum roll please* …… CAKE POPS.

Bee Cake Pops by Bakerella

Spring Chickens by Bakerella

Witchy Women by RunJanisRun

How cool are they!!! As with anything new that is crafty I found it on craftster the love of my life (although I have been avoiding it recently to try and wean myself off an addiction to it!) Apparently though, they were created by Bakerella in mid 2008 and have been sweeping the baking world. Although *ahem* living in a purple box me had not seen them before yesterday. Oooopsies.

Well, I plan to make up for lost time though and get cracking on some of these this easter holiday. Although – what is American frosting made of? It seems like you can just go out and buy tins of frosting, which i don’t think I’ve ever seen over here? Or maybe thats just me living in a shell. I also need to find myself some candy melts – anyone know if thats solely the preserve of mail ordering or can I buy them in shops as well.

Anyway I can’t get over how simply gorgeous these little bites are. Firsty, they’re made of cake – I think you cvan’t be a proper human being if you can turn down a bit of cake (unless you a well and truly and poggged out – in such conditions I will let you off). Secondly, they’re are absolutely wild and wacky, limited only to the roof of your imagination – there are no fixed rules, you can truly create whatever you like. Thirdly, well this is a bit aesthetic, but they’re nice and photogenic. There is nothing worse than making a lovelyย  morsel (usually a main I have to say) and then for it to sit there looking like a pile of, well, I’ll leave it to your imagination! Very frustrating anyway!

Anyway, I’ve rambled long enough about something I haven’t actually made! So I’ll leave you with a video from Bakarella herself, found on this blog, which details the creative process: