Friday, 21 September 2012

Ombre Mr Penfold Cake

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I recently set myself a challenge of making the tackiest cake I could (without including edible glitter, don't get me started on that). I'm not normally one for overly decorated cakes as I feel they're just trying to compensate on the lack of flavour. Give me a 'rustic' looking walnut loaf any day over a red velvet layer cake with all the bells and whistles. But I have always secretly wanted to have a play around with gel food colouring and as pinterest calls it, an Ombre cake.

Last week was the opening for the All Type No Face exhibition and I agreed to make a cake. I had initially thought to make a typography cake by cutting letters out a a sheet of cake but as Tim's painting include quite a lot of fades I thought this would be the perfect solution. I took inspiration from the painting below and quickly set out making 4 batches of sponge cake. As I only have 2 cake tins I did these in 2 go's making a simple sponge consisting of 180g sugar, 180g unsalted butter, 3 large eggs, 180g flour, 2 tsp baking powder which then got split in half (weigh the total mixture and then divide evenly) before adding varying amounts of pink food dye. If you want to do this at home, these measurements are for a 9" tin but would also work for a smaller one if you were happy to have a taller cake, just watch the cooking times. To put the cake together I made up a simple buttercream using equal measures of softened butter & icing sugar. Once you've put all the layers together I recommend doing a 'crumb layer', which is a thin layer of icing over the whole cake that holds all the crumbs in place. If you pop the cake in the fridge for 15 minutes that will slightly set and will make putting the 2nd layer of icing much easier.

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Finally, I used coloured royal icing which I rolled out thinly and Tim & I set about cutting a face for the character. This was a hardest past and made the perfectionist in me twitch, but I was pretty happy with the final result. Unfortunately for me, the cake was eaten in the blink of an eye so the only photo I managed to get was on my phone. Tim & I didn't even get to sample our creation in the end, but the feedback was pretty good.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Fig & Feta Salad with a little indulgence

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They always say the simplest things are the best and when it comes to food that couldn't be more true. Don't get me wrong, I love to submerse myself in a complicated recipe that takes days of planning but when you have amazing ingredients you really don't need to do much. I recently discovered truffle honey at a new bar, 196 on Mill Road in Cambridge and ever since have been day dreaming about it... I even had a dream one night where I was attempting to make my own with terrible results. I randomly found a jar of the honey on a recent trip to Marks and Spencer and have been trying it out with different things ever since - my favourite being on crackers with some comte cheese. That was until today anyway. Only last night I was talking to Tim about how figs are my favourite fruit. I think it stems from my summers in Croatia as a child where we would steal figs straight off a tree before tearing them open and eating the insides. I digress, today whilst at the supermarket I quite surprisingly found some beautiful looking figs on offer and knew they had to be mine. I initially planned to bake with them but I also wanted to eat some fresh. After a very quick scan of the fridge I knew what had to be done. This would make a fantastic starter or side for a dinner party but would also make a very sophisticated canapĂ© if placed onto a cracker or bruschetta.

I won't bother with an ingredients list as I'm sure you know whats in it by now but to assemble place some rocket on your plate, top with wedges of fresh figs and crumbled feta, sprinkle with a little salt and drizzle with some extra virgin olive oil. Finally, drip some honey over the whole thing and there you have it. If you were wondering, the honey is currently £3.99 and I am planning to stock up before everyone else gets in there and buys the whole lot!
P.S This isn't a sponsored post, but if any truffle companies wish to send samples, my door is open.

Monday, 10 September 2012

Sweetcorn Pancakes

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This weekend saw my 27th birthday and as I am fast approaching being middle age (I joke) Tim very generously bought me an all singing, all dancing Magimix food processor. I can't tell you how over the moon/excited I am about it so first thing on Sunday morning we gave it a whirl. I should begin by saying these pancakes don't have to be made in a food processor, you can do it the old fashioned way with a whisk, but you will need to finely chop the sweetcorn to get a similar consistency.

These pancakes, served with salted butter taste just like sweetcorn from the barbeque, smokey and creamy. We had them for breakfast along with some smoked frankfurters but they would make a great alternative to rostis or latkes for dinner. I can just imagine a perfectly poached egg sitting atop a stack of these with cured meat and grilled asparagus. Ok, I'll stop daydreaming and get on with the recipe.

Makes enough for 2 (aprox 8 pancakes)
You will need-

  • 60g plain flour
  • Around 125g sweetcorn (defrosted if frozen)
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 1.5 tbsp milk
  • Salt & Pepper

Heat a pan on a medium high heat and lightly oil. Place all of the ingredients in the food processor and blend for a couple of minutes. Spoon the mixture into the frying pan to make small pancakes and serve right away with a knob of butter and your favourite sides.

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