Funday Sunday Competition

Although I haven’t posted lately  I’ve still been baking but not too successfully as everything I try out seems to go wrong.

I’m entering The 5th Great Abergavenny Bake Off at the beginning of May and I’ve been practicing different cake ideas I’ve had but what I’ve baked so far has been a bit of a flop and now I’m starting to worry if I will even manage to enter a cake.

Anyway I’ve got another week to put some more ideas together and for now I’ll leave you with my technical drawings and baking my flops.






Amazing Day

It has been an amazing day.  It all started at 5 o,clock this morning getting everything ready and then off to the Priory at 11.00 to Watch Frances Quinn make her amazing marzipan bees my mind is working overtime on ideas for new cake decorations.  Her book Quinntessential Baking has some amazing ideas.


Then a quick dash to check in with the Abergavenny Food Festival Team before going to the Market Hall to do my demonstration with Frances.  I was very nervous but love every minute of it.

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Then off to do a book signing along with Frances.


Then a quick twenty minute break before going to the castle and getting ready for my Pizza demonstration.

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It has been an amazing day and so many people have been behind me – it will take a lot to beat today.  Thank you to Mam, for holding my hand, Libby & Millie for covering for Mam so she could be with me. Francis for letting me be her Sous Chef, Kirsty for inviting me to demonstrate at the Food Academy  but my biggest thank you is to Scott Grant Crichton for believing in me and giving me the opportunity to be a part of the Abergavenny Food Festival.

Short Crust Pastry

I got given a lovely patisserie book for Christmas full of some amazing recipes and thought it would be fun to try some on my blog and so I’m starting my year with chapter one of my book – learning about all the different pastry’s.

This week I concentrated on short crust pastry which is also known as Pâte Brisée .  With the pastry I made a plum tart and also some homemade custard to go with it.

The pastry consists of

250g plain flour

125g diced butter room temperature

40g sugar

Place all the ingredients into a bowl rub together until the mixture looks like fine breadcrumbs.  Gradually add 125ml of cold water and knead the pastry into a soft ball (you may not need all the water and this is okay).

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Then cover the pastry in cling film and place in the fridge for two hours.

Putting the pastry in the fridges makes it easier to work with when you are rolling it out and it also means the gluten has time to rest which stops the pastry shrinking when you bake it

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When two hours are up roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface.  The pastry should be about 3mm thick.  Then place the pastry over your greased 24cm tart case (with a removable bottom).  Cut off the excess pastry and then prick the pastry with a fork, this stops the pastry from puffing when it’s in the oven.

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For the plum tart

500g sliced plums

50g fine dried bread crumbs

25g sugar

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

sugar to sprinkle over tart when baked

Sprinkle the breads crumbs on the base of the tart.  This prevents the plum juice from making the pastry soggy.  Arrange the plums in circles on the breadcrumbs and sprinkle the 25g of sugar and ½ teaspoon of cinnamon over the plums.  Then bake for 35 – 40 mins in a preheated oven at  200°C.

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When baked removed from the oven and sprinkle sugar on top of the tart.  Serve warm with a homemade custard.

To make the custard

300ml double or single cream

3 egg yolksScreen Shot 2015-01-20 at 22.53.13

1 level teaspoon castor sugar

2 drops vanilla essence

Heat the cream in a saucepan on  a hob until boiling.  In a separate bowl mix the egg yolks, sugar and corn flour and vanilla essence.  Pour the heated cream into the egg mixture and mix together.  Then pour the custard back into the saucepan and over a low heat whisk gently until thickened the serve with the tart.

I don’t normally like fruit tarts but I really liked this one.  At first I thought the breadcrumbs were odd but they do add a nice texture to the tart.

Join me next week when I make an orange cream tart with a sweet pastry.


Birthday cup cakes

This week I’m staying in France at my godparents. There is a little girl next door whose birthday it was yesterday and I made her cupcakes.
These cupcakes are a plain sponge covered with butter icing and sprinkles. Cooking in France is the same as in Wales the only real difference is making sure I can read a bit of French so I don’t put salt in the cake mixture instead of sugar.


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Anzac biscuits

IMG_3059Sorry i did not post my blog yesterday as i have been ill. Anyway this week i made Anzac biscuits. The biscuit dough is very like brandy snaps.

The  biscuit forms little air holes whilst cooking and they look as though they would be easy to roll just like brandy snaps.

The biscuit dough contains of desiccated coconut, flour, golden syrup, butter, sugar and oats. First you melt the golden syrup, butter and sugar in a saucepan and then you add all of the dry ingredients to the mixture in the pan.

Then mix it all together and form small balls of the dough and flatten them down on the baking tray.

Leave them in the oven for 8 – 10 minutes but make sure you watch them because they burn quick.

This bake was fun but i learnt that i need to keep watch of them whilst they are cooking, and also dont make them so big because they do expand.

Did you know :- Anzac biscuits are a sweet biscuits that comes from Australia and New Zeland. These biscuits are what the army use to eat because they where easy to ship.


Jam Tarts

This week i made a bake for me which is jam tarts and i absolutely love them,.

The pastry was shourtcrust, i have made this pastry before and i really enjoyed kneading and rolling out the dough because it was so soft and easy to work with.

Once i made the pastry i cut them out with biscuit cutters and put them into youkshire pudding trays because we didn’t have tartlet trays and then i added lemon curd in half of the batch and with the rest i put raspberry jam in.

After that i put them in the oven for 15 minuets and the pastry was nice and brown and the jam was jelly like after it had cooled.

In addition to my bake i have submitted my recipe for my staberry rose cake to the clandestine cake club who are producing a book of its members recipes, i won’t know for a while if it been includede but i made me realise its not just a case of writing a recipe i had to write down how i do everything which normally i just do but thinking about it its actually quite hard

Did you know:- Tarts are always made with shortcrust pastry.  Jam tarts only really came about when sugar was available as before sugar all there was,IMG_2816 was honey and this no good for making jam.  Sugar was very expensive so a jam tart was a big treat.


Lemon Tart

This week baked lemon tart especially for my Godmother Andrena because its one of her favourites and I thought I needed to practise before I go and stay with her in the summer.  The recipe said to make the pastry on the worktop.  I have never do this before  and I really liked making the pastry this way because I felt like I had more control over it but I didn’t have control over one of the yolks as it escaped from the dough mixture.

I do need to practise the rolling and laying out my pastry as every time I make a pastry base my sides are not level.

Did you know :- Tarte au citron is the French for lemon tart but it isn’t  actually originally from France. They say it came from the Mediterranean because most of the ingridents comes from there.

In france the most famous town to make these lemon tarts is called ‘ Menton ‘ which is in the south east of France.

Each year they have a lemon festival and the tarts are a big part of the festival. IMG_2567


IMG_2953This week I baked a  Battenberg cake. I enjoyed this bake but unfortunately my pink sponge was a little bit brown because the pink cake mixture mixed in with the plain mixture when it was baking.

The cake is made up of two different coloured cake mixtures.  The mixture is baked and when it has cooled down each colour is cut into an oblong shape and these are glued with apricot jam to make a chequered pattern.  The cake is then covered in marzipan that has been rolled out and sprinkled with icing sugar.This bake is very yummy and almost as good as Mr Killing’s battenberg.

Did you know:- Battenberg came from the UK, and was made in 1884 for the marriage of Queen Victoria’s granddaughter, Princess Victoria Alberta Elisabeth Mathilde Marie to Prince Louis of Battenberg. The four squares of the cake are the four battenberg princes which were: Prince Louis, Prince Alexander, Prince Henry and Prince Francis Joseph.