Sunday, 26 February 2012

Spring's in the Post: Pretty Rose & Daisy Pops

Wow, it really feels like Spring is coming to London this weekend. To celebrate, here are some pics of this weekend's pretty rose and daisy pops - on their way to a Sunday lunch as a thank you pressie.


Friday, 24 February 2012

Provence Inspired: Pear & Almond Cake

This is a really light and moist cake which would be great with a blob of crème fraîche to serve with coffee. The pears could be swapped for any glazed or candied fruit that you fancy using or maybe even plain and served with some fruit compote. I spilt the batter in half and made two 6" cakes instead of one 8" one.


The pears are these pretty ones from Provence - I haven't seen them before but if you can't find them you can follow tutorials like this and make your own.


INGREDIENTS



150g unsalted butter at room temperature
125g caster sugar
2 large eggs
75g ground almonds
75g self raising flour
2 candied pears, cored and sliced


METHOD


1. Preheat the oven to 170C and grease and line an 8" cake tin

2. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy (I do mine for 4 mins in my standing mixer)
3. Mix in the eggs one at a time
4. Fold in the almonds and then the flour
5. Spread evenly in the cake tin and arrange the pear slices on top
6. Bake for 30 mins or until an inserted cake tester or skewer comes out clean


Adapted from a Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall recipe.


Treats from Provence

lavender biscuits
Look at these pretty edible treats from Provence! The Vaucluse tourist people sent me all sorts of candied fruits, preserves and biscuits with the challenge of turning them into baked recipes. I love the colour of the candied pears and apricots and the amazing purple biscuits. Up next, the pears find their way into an cake...

Have a look at their Facebook page to see what other bloggers have made like this purple cheesecake.

candied red pears
candied apricots

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Happy Valentine's Day: J'adore Paris

In the cold courtyard of the Louve
Happy Valentine's Day! As today is the day of love, it's reminded me to write about my day trip to the city of love (love of the patisserie kind in particular for me) with a couple of my best mates last month. It's also inspired me to share a couple of other French inspired posts - coming up tout de suite (well, later this week at least!).

With delicious food and pretty sights high on the agenda we set off on the Eurostar from St Pancras in time for a warming Moroccan lunch at Le 404. I had a chicken and pear tagine and we saved room for our afternoon patisserie fix by opting for a light dessert - baklava and a milk pastilla (like a crispy and sweet pancake). 

Next stop was G. Detou to stock up on flavoured essences for cakes and buttercreams  like violet, jasmine and caramel plus a big jar of vanilla pods and some yummy caramel sweets. Read more about G. Detou over at David Lebovitz's blog. We also popped in to Mora to look at the amazing array of cookie cutters and chocolate moulds that they stock (I managed to restrain myself to a buttercream scraper and a mini ice cream scoop for cupcake batter portioning). 

We walked through the Louve's beautiful courtyard, clocked the Eiffel Tower and crossed the river to the St Germain area in search of afternoon refreshment. There were so many pastry shops to chose from but as we were only in Paris for the afternoon we headed straight for Pierre Herme to buy pretty macarons like milk chocolate (with gold lustre dust), rose and lychee and salted caramel by the gram. Our final stop was tea room L'Heure Gourmande for cherry pie and cheese cake (and hot chocolate that was more like v thick cocoa and needed lots of sugar!).

The afternoon went so quickly that there was no time for cheese shopping and cocktails before we had to re-board the Eurostar back to London - definitely on the list for next time.

Macs by the master Pierre H

Cherry pie at L'Heure Gourmande
Flavours galore at G. Detou



Friday, 10 February 2012

Rhubarb & Rose at The Make Lounge

I'm very excited to tell you that I'll be teaching cupcake and cake pop workshops at The Make Lounge in Islington from spring! I'm a big fan of The Make Lounge and have been to their workshops before so I can't wait to be part of the team there. 


Check out their other workshops here - they do everything from millinery to book binding, all in a beautiful location off of Upper Street - and book here for cupcakes and cake pops

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