Friday, 27 November 2015

Neapolitan Cake

This cake is SO. MUCH. FUN. Chocolate! Strawberry! Vanilla! Rosettes! Sprinkles!!

The nights are getting longer and colder, so I think we all need a little more cake in our lives in these dire times.

Neapolitan combines my favourite simple and sweet flavours, and I think the colours are absolutely classic together. I have been trying to up my cake decoration game lately, but I’m still quite cack-handed and impatient.  So I needed something which looked nice but was relatively simple. Enter, the buttercream rosette!

To make this, you just need buttercream icing, piping bag with star shaped nozzle, and a little bit of effort. To make the rosette, start in the centre with a blob of icing and then move the tip around the centre part, piping the entire time. I quickly youtubed it before having a go the first time.

You will have noted that this is a Neapolitan cake which is quite heavy on the chocolate. But I think that it looks quite impressive (if I do say so myself) and by decorating it all in chocolate on the outside, the inside becomes a complete surprise. I put some chocolate sprinkles on it because this is a lighthearted little cake, and I wanted to hint at the insides. Feel free to decorate however you like, but this was easy peasy!

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Chicken Rough Puff Pie

Ooooh, I love a good savoury pie.

The nights are getting longer and colder, and for me that means one thing: comfort food. There is nothing more comforting than a big old pie, fresh from the oven, chock full of meats and veggies.  For me, making and then eating this is my perfect way to spend an autumnal weekend evening.

And I might just be a total weirdo, but I find making pastry comforting too. And I’ve never made rough puff before, but I have been inspired by the Great British Bakeoff where it seemed to make a lot of appearances! And I can see why – it is quick, light, flavourful and crispy, and slightly less labour intensive than it’s “non rough” counterpart. This is nicer than the M&S equivalent, a fact which makes me stupidly happy.

Saturday, 21 November 2015

Pytt i Panna

AKA: "Stuff in a Pan"

Sweden calling! It snowed last night in Newcastle, so it feels very fitting to post a Swedish classic today.

My lovely Swedish boyfriend doesn’t often get homesick, but when he does, I normally just smother everything in dill.

This time, I decided to make a bit more of an effort, and make an absolute Swedish standard comprised of leftovers – pytt i panna. We had had a delicious roast beef dinner the night before, and I saved a good few slices to make this dinner. It couldn’t be easier – chop everything up small and basically add it to a pan together and let it cook. Beef and potatoes are the staples of this meal, and the veggies add some colour and flavour.

It took a while for my potatoes to cook, so next time I think I will add them in after the bacon and let the whole thing cook for about 10 minutes before adding the rest of the meat and vegetables.

Monday, 16 November 2015

Banana Peanut Butter Muffins

I'm post-nightshift and I feel like a zombie. I would be feeling worse if not for these little lifesavers, gratefully gorged on at 4am.

We’ve all been there. It’s the start of the week, and you have a bowl of rapidly browning, sad looking bananas left over from last week's shop in your fruit bowl. Sure, you could just eat them, but that feels like punishment. Instead, I'm going to give those bananas a fitting send off,

So, I decided to combine some of my favourite flavours and make some lovely muffins! These are really delicious, filling and flavourful. They make a very treat-ful breakfast. And are great for elevenses. And lunch-dessert. And midnight snack.

Peanut butter and banana really go well together and the hint of cinnamon just ties the whole thing together. The crumble topping really makes these muffins into something very, and you gotta make them to see for yourself.

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Potato Bread and Creamy Peppercorn Sauce

Next in the series of “tastes of home..” Of course, it's all carbohydrate-based.

I had this as the most delicious starter in a little restaurant back in Belfast, and I was blown away by the taste. The full starter also had strips of steak, which I recommend pairing with this! Steak is personal though, so I’m leaving it to your discretion as to how you like it cooked.

I love potato bread, it is simple to make and reminds me of home. Another quick to prepare Irish bready staple. Basically, it is full of carbohydrates and then fried, what isn’t to like (for a little treat!).

I’ve written the two methods out separately, but you can easily be making the sauce while the potatoes are boiling. I don’t mind darting from pan to pan and having a few things cooking at once, but if you don’t, make the sauce first, set aside, do the spuds, and reheat the sauce just before serving.

Assembly is simple: potato bread on the bottom, strips of steak on top, and drizzle the peppercorn sauce on top. Dinner done!

Friday, 6 November 2015

Soda Farl

Happy Friday, everyone! I'm going back to Belfast this weekend, so some comforting, taste-of-home soda bread was called for.

One thing I love about Irish bread is that they never really require time to rise or prove. Because when an Irish woman wants bread, she wants it NOW. Ain’t no one got time to wait for bread to double in size. I’m talking potato bread, wheaten bread, soda bread..

This bread is pan-cooked, and it literally takes minutes from mixing to eating. Now that’s what I’m talking about.

It is an absolute staple of the Ulster fry, but works well as a perfect breakfast on its own, buttered when hot from the pan. Leftovers can be sliced and toasted, too. You need this in your life. Go on, go on, go on.

Monday, 2 November 2015


Just in time for Bonfire Night..

And this time I’m going local! Parkin is a traditional North-East of England cake, made with oats and treacle. Thus, it is a sweet, moist and sticky cake. And the sweet, spiced flavours are just perfect for autumn.

I didn’t know about this cake until I took a chance on it as dessert in one of my favourite restaurants. 

My mum and I were really impressed by the syrup-y sweet, dense oaty cake, which was served with banana icecream (a revelation – a complete perfect partnership!). I knew as the cold weather rolled around once again, I wanted to try my own version.

And it went down a treat! Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any treacle, but if you can, substitute 100g of the golden syrup for 100g of treacle.