Portuguese custard tarts.


These were my adaptation of the lovely egg custard tarts often found in Portugal. I say ‘adaptation’ as I used half of the quantity of my sweet short crust pastry (recipe can be found earlier in blog) as this was left over from making a Bakewell tart. These tarts are traditionally made using puff pastry, so you can use either / or, both are delightful !

Butter, for greasing the muffin tray
250 ml (8 fl oz) double cream
150 ml (1/4 pint) milk
Grated rind of 1 fresh lemon
1 Vanilla pod, split lengthways
4 egg yolks
2 tablespoons cornflour
125 g (4 oz) caster sugar
150 g (5 oz) chilled ready-made all butter puff pastry or      half quantity of my short crust pastry 
Flour for rolling the pastry
Icing sugar for dusting over the finished tarts

Preheat the oven to 200c. Grease a muffin dish then line each hole with a circle of pastry.

Put the cream, milk and lemon rind into a saucepan. Scrape the seeds from the split vanilla pod into the saucespan and drop in the empty pod too (this will ensure that you get every little bit of flavour from the pod). Bring to a simmer, then take off the heat. 

Mix the sugar and corn flour together until it forms a paste. 

Add the warm milk and cream mixture.

 Return the mixture to the saucepan and heat over a moderate heat and gently stir until it thickens - do not let it boil.  (Note: The mixture will turn thick quite quickly, so keep a close watch over it.) 

Add the custard mixture when thickened to the pastry case. The bake for 18-20 minutes. When baked dust lightly with icing sugar.

Portuguese custard tarts.


These were my adaptation of the lovely egg custard tarts often found in Portugal. I say ‘adaptation’ as I used half of the quantity of my sweet short crust pastry (recipe can be found earlier in blog) as this was left over from making a Bakewell tart. These tarts are traditionally made using puff pastry, so you can use either / or, both are delightful !

Butter, for greasing the muffin tray
250 ml (8 fl oz) double cream
150 ml (1/4 pint) milk
Grated rind of 1 fresh lemon
1 Vanilla pod, split lengthways
4 egg yolks
2 tablespoons cornflour
125 g (4 oz) caster sugar
150 g (5 oz) chilled ready-made all butter puff pastry or half quantity of my short crust pastry
Flour for rolling the pastry
Icing sugar for dusting over the finished tarts

Preheat the oven to 200c. Grease a muffin dish then line each hole with a circle of pastry. Put the cream, milk and lemon rind into a saucepan. Scrape the seeds from the split vanilla pod into the saucespan and drop in the empty pod too (this will ensure that you get every little bit of flavour from the pod). Bring to a simmer, then take off the heat. Mix the sugar and corn flour together until it forms a paste. Add the warm milk and cream mixture. Return the mixture to the saucepan and heat over a moderate heat and gently stir until it thickens - do not let it boil. (Note: The mixture will turn thick quite quickly, so keep a close watch over it.) Add the custard mixture when thickened to the pastry case. The bake for 18-20 minutes. When baked dust lightly with icing sugar.

Last night was yet another meeting of the Birmingham Clandestine Cake Club. We all met at a quaint little deli situated on the high street in Boldemere, Sutton Coldfield. I always enjoy these meetings as its an excuse to meet with like minded folk, who enjoy sharing their bakes just as much as I do. Last nights meeting was extra special as we had 2 wonderful guests. My fellow GBBO pals Brendan Lynch who’s skilful baking took him to the final, and Stuart Marston-Smith who created the famous Tomato jam upside down cake ! 
The theme for this meeting was ‘trick or treat’ and once again the group came up trumps with some fantastically original interpretations of this theme. I made a chocolate fudge grave yard cake. The cake was rich chocolate fudge filled with white chocolate butter cream and covered in ganache and a coating of crushed Oreo biscuits. I then decorated the cake with rich tea grave stones, dripping with salted caramel ‘blood’, fondant Halloween models and candy stones. I hope you like it !

Last night was yet another meeting of the Birmingham Clandestine Cake Club. We all met at a quaint little deli situated on the high street in Boldemere, Sutton Coldfield. I always enjoy these meetings as its an excuse to meet with like minded folk, who enjoy sharing their bakes just as much as I do. Last nights meeting was extra special as we had 2 wonderful guests. My fellow GBBO pals Brendan Lynch who’s skilful baking took him to the final, and Stuart Marston-Smith who created the famous Tomato jam upside down cake !
The theme for this meeting was ‘trick or treat’ and once again the group came up trumps with some fantastically original interpretations of this theme. I made a chocolate fudge grave yard cake. The cake was rich chocolate fudge filled with white chocolate butter cream and covered in ganache and a coating of crushed Oreo biscuits. I then decorated the cake with rich tea grave stones, dripping with salted caramel ‘blood’, fondant Halloween models and candy stones. I hope you like it !


Me and my lovely Bake off Buddy’s

Me and my lovely Bake off Buddy’s


Over the years I have made thousands of scones, using a variety of different recipes. This year I discovered, what can only be described as the ultimate scone recipe. Paul Hollywood’s deconstruction of the traditional scone recipe is interesting to stay the least. At first glance your confused to see strong white flour appear in the ingredients list. As for the quantity of baking powder you initially believe that this must be a typo ! But boy is this the best scone recipe ever. Please give it a go. I strongly recommend youtubing Paul demonstrating the method, as the dough will be unusually wet, and there are specifics required to make the recipe work. Here is the link to the BBC food website and the recipe http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/paul_hollywoods_scones_70005

Over the years I have made thousands of scones, using a variety of different recipes. This year I discovered, what can only be described as the ultimate scone recipe. Paul Hollywood’s deconstruction of the traditional scone recipe is interesting to stay the least. At first glance your confused to see strong white flour appear in the ingredients list. As for the quantity of baking powder you initially believe that this must be a typo ! But boy is this the best scone recipe ever. Please give it a go. I strongly recommend youtubing Paul demonstrating the method, as the dough will be unusually wet, and there are specifics required to make the recipe work. Here is the link to the BBC food website and the recipe http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/paul_hollywoods_scones_70005


Although I love cake in any form or of any description, I must admit that cupcakes are not really my favourite thing to bake. I do find them visually appealing, however they are often over sweet and sickly, you could say style over substance ! For me, cupcake baking only usually comes from a request from a family member or friends. So I thought it would be nice to share the pictures of my latest bake with you all ! These cakes were for a 21st birthday party.

Although I love cake in any form or of any description, I must admit that cupcakes are not really my favourite thing to bake. I do find them visually appealing, however they are often over sweet and sickly, you could say style over substance ! For me, cupcake baking only usually comes from a request from a family member or friends. So I thought it would be nice to share the pictures of my latest bake with you all ! These cakes were for a 21st birthday party.


Here is my recipe for American bagels. Theses are fabulous toasted, buttered and smothered in peanut butter….. Heavenly !


vanilla seed and dark chocolate chip bagels

Ingredients 
2 teaspoons of re active dry yeast
1 ½ tablespoons of granulated sugar
315 mls of warm water
500g of bread flour or high gluten flour(will need extra for kneading)
1 ½ teaspoons of salt
1tsp of vanilla bean paste
150mls of castor
200mls of good qaulity dark chocolate chips
To make the bagels.
Add the sugar and yeast to the blood warm water, wait a few moments for the mixture to reactivate and become frothy. Stir in the vanilla paste.
Mix the flour, sugar and water together to make a soft dough.
Kneed well for 10 minutes until soft and elastic.
Leave the dough in an oiled dish and cover with clingfilm.
Leave to rise in a warm place for at least 1 hour until doubled in size.
Divide the dough into 12 eqaul balls.
Sprinkle a few chocolate drop into the dough making sure they are well hidden.
With your finger great a doughnut shape out if each dough ball, then leave to prove for 20-30 minutes. Set a large pan of water to boil.
Once proved, with a fish slice lift your bagels into the boiling water, smooth side down. Simmer for 1 minute on each side. Remove from the water and place on a baking tray lined with baking parchment.
Bake at 180 degrees for 10 minutes then turn oven up to 200 degrees until golden brown.

Here is my recipe for American bagels. Theses are fabulous toasted, buttered and smothered in peanut butter….. Heavenly !


vanilla seed and dark chocolate chip bagels

Ingredients
2 teaspoons of re active dry yeast
1 ½ tablespoons of granulated sugar
315 mls of warm water
500g of bread flour or high gluten flour(will need extra for kneading)
1 ½ teaspoons of salt
1tsp of vanilla bean paste
150mls of castor
200mls of good qaulity dark chocolate chips
To make the bagels.
Add the sugar and yeast to the blood warm water, wait a few moments for the mixture to reactivate and become frothy. Stir in the vanilla paste.
Mix the flour, sugar and water together to make a soft dough.
Kneed well for 10 minutes until soft and elastic.
Leave the dough in an oiled dish and cover with clingfilm.
Leave to rise in a warm place for at least 1 hour until doubled in size.
Divide the dough into 12 eqaul balls.
Sprinkle a few chocolate drop into the dough making sure they are well hidden.
With your finger great a doughnut shape out if each dough ball, then leave to prove for 20-30 minutes. Set a large pan of water to boil.
Once proved, with a fish slice lift your bagels into the boiling water, smooth side down. Simmer for 1 minute on each side. Remove from the water and place on a baking tray lined with baking parchment.
Bake at 180 degrees for 10 minutes then turn oven up to 200 degrees until golden brown.


By popular demand here is the recipe for my Lemon, Passion fruit and Elderflower cake !

The sponge
12oz of self raising flour
12oz of castor sugar
12oz of stork margarine ( I find gives better results In a plain sponge then butter )
6 medium eggs
2 tsp of baking powder
1tbsp of vanilla essence
6 tbsp of cold water

•Cream together the stork and sugar until light and fluffy 
•add the beaten eggs
•now add the sifted flour and baking powder and whisk/beat until light and fluffy.
•divide the mix between 3 x greased 9 inch sandwich tins.
• bake in a preheated oven at 180c for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.

The cake fillings
1/2 of a jar of lemon curd.
2oz of clear jam (e.g apricot) or shred less marmalade.
3 passion fruits.
5oz of unsalted butter.
10oz of icing sugar.
2 tbsp of milk.
A few drops of vanilla essence.

•butter cream - cream the softened butter, vanilla essence, milk and icing sugar until light and fluffy 
•passion fruit jam - take your clear jam then add the pulp and seeds of the 3 passion fruit, gently simmer together for 2 minutes, voila- there you have passion fruit jam.
•sandwich the 1st and 2nd layers of sponge together with the lemon curd, then add the passion fruit jam, then the buttercream to the top of the 2nd sponge. Finally top with the third sponge.

The cream cheese frosting
2 x 150g tubs of full fat cream cheese ( I use supermarket own brand as it keeps the cost down).
I small tub of mascarpone  cheese.
100ml of elderflower cordial.

Whisk together the soft cheeses and the elderflower cordial. 
Use this to cover your sponge, this is the chance to use you imagination you can spread the frosting or pipe it on !

By popular demand here is the recipe for my Lemon, Passion fruit and Elderflower cake !

The sponge
12oz of self raising flour
12oz of castor sugar
12oz of stork margarine ( I find gives better results In a plain sponge then butter )
6 medium eggs
2 tsp of baking powder
1tbsp of vanilla essence
6 tbsp of cold water

•Cream together the stork and sugar until light and fluffy
•add the beaten eggs
•now add the sifted flour and baking powder and whisk/beat until light and fluffy.
•divide the mix between 3 x greased 9 inch sandwich tins.
• bake in a preheated oven at 180c for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.

The cake fillings
1/2 of a jar of lemon curd.
2oz of clear jam (e.g apricot) or shred less marmalade.
3 passion fruits.
5oz of unsalted butter.
10oz of icing sugar.
2 tbsp of milk.
A few drops of vanilla essence.

•butter cream - cream the softened butter, vanilla essence, milk and icing sugar until light and fluffy
•passion fruit jam - take your clear jam then add the pulp and seeds of the 3 passion fruit, gently simmer together for 2 minutes, voila- there you have passion fruit jam.
•sandwich the 1st and 2nd layers of sponge together with the lemon curd, then add the passion fruit jam, then the buttercream to the top of the 2nd sponge. Finally top with the third sponge.

The cream cheese frosting
2 x 150g tubs of full fat cream cheese ( I use supermarket own brand as it keeps the cost down).
I small tub of mascarpone cheese.
100ml of elderflower cordial.

Whisk together the soft cheeses and the elderflower cordial.
Use this to cover your sponge, this is the chance to use you imagination you can spread the frosting or pipe it on !


Lemon, Passion fruit and Elderflower cake.


Today I attended the Birmingham clandestine cake club, held in a quaint bakery close to Hagley hall in the West Midlands. This was yet another chance to gather with like minded hobby bakers and sample each others bakes. My offering was a Lemon, passion fruit and elderflower cake. I made a 3 layered vanilla sponge, with lemon curd between one layer and passion fruit jam and butter cream between the next layer. The cake was then decorated with a simple cream cheese and mascarpone frosting, flavoured with elderflower cordial, a subtle but fresh flavour. There’s a little scatter of pink desiccated coconut on the top, more for decoration then flavour. I then added a a butterfly cake bunting decoration to really complete that summer look.

Lemon, Passion fruit and Elderflower cake.


Today I attended the Birmingham clandestine cake club, held in a quaint bakery close to Hagley hall in the West Midlands. This was yet another chance to gather with like minded hobby bakers and sample each others bakes. My offering was a Lemon, passion fruit and elderflower cake. I made a 3 layered vanilla sponge, with lemon curd between one layer and passion fruit jam and butter cream between the next layer. The cake was then decorated with a simple cream cheese and mascarpone frosting, flavoured with elderflower cordial, a subtle but fresh flavour. There’s a little scatter of pink desiccated coconut on the top, more for decoration then flavour. I then added a a butterfly cake bunting decoration to really complete that summer look.


Cup cakes for Sophie

Cup cakes for Sophie