15.12.13

Christmas Carrot Cake

I heard a top tip a few weeks back. If you, like me, missed stir up Sunday but feel a sense of duty to provide Christmas cake for the upcoming festivities, there is a solution. Take one solid carrot cake recipe and stir in a whole load of fruit, more than you think, and bake. I'm told the quantities should be 1:1 cake to fruit (and when I say fruit it could be currants, raisins, apricots, dates, zest, prunes, figs, cherries, apricots, cranberries....). Cook until just firm, cover with lovely marzipan and the pretty white icing from packets. Decorate. It can be done in an afternoon, with a one year old helping, I can vouch for that. This was the recipe I used -

Christmas Carrot Cake 

225g unsalted softened butter 
225g light brown sugar 
4 eggs 
200g self raising flour 
1 tsp baking powder 
1 tsp cinnamon 
1 tsp allspice 
a pinch of salt 
225g grated carrot 
450g dried fruit, chopped 

1/ Preheat oven to 170 C 
2/ Butter a 20cm deep springform cake tin that is 7cm deep and line with baking paper. 
3/ In a bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. 
4/ Sift the baking powder, cinnamon and flour and salt into a bowl and add half of it to the cake mixture, mix to just combined then add the 2nd half. 
5/ In another bowl, combine the grated carrot & fruit and stir this into the cake mixture. 
6/ Spoon the cake mixture into the tin. Bake for about 50-60 minutes, until the cake is springy to the touch and a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool in the tin for 10 minutes then turn out and leave to cool on a wire rack until completely cold before you ice it. Then go crazy  with the decoration.





13.12.13

Rockett St George

Just a quick post to tell you about Rockett St George, a company I was introduced to a few years ago and who are solely responsible for making the ordinary seem cool. Even a dishwashing rack. And lightbulbs. 


I allow myself strictly one new Christmas decoration per year and 2013 was the year of the tree. Three glass trees to stand on my table amongst the clementines and empty cups of coffee. Love. I just logged onto the website and, to my total frustration, discovered they are now half price. Christmas has arrived early if you fancy buying some too! 

Now, off to make my cake... 


5.12.13

Good Old Bread & Soup

There are a few things I can't refuse; Wrigley's chewing gum by the checkout, baby M&S brownie pieces sold in enormous buckets and magazines with free nail polish. And then there's the bread by the stall at the station.

It doesn't matter that we have a loaf in the freezer or that I thought I might go gluten free or that 'adverse weather conditions' mean I'm running late for nursery. 

"That's a large sourdough Madam, choose your favourite." 

So this afternoon I made pumpkin, paprika and shallot soup to serve with my sourdough. We will try gluten free tomorrow. 




PUMPKIN & SHALLOT SOUP 

INGREDIETS
2tbsp olive oil
½tspn coarse ground coriander seeds
2 tsp turmeric
6 shallots, roughly chopped
5 cloves of garlic, finely diced
2kg fresh pumpkin, peeled and cut into approximately 3-4cm square pieces
1.4ml vegetable stock
Salt to season
Bread to serve

DIRECTIONS
1/ Heat the olive oil in a large solid based pan. Add the chopped shallots, onion garlic and turmeric and fry together for 5-6 minutes until the onion has softened.
2/ Reduce the heat. Add the stock and pumpkin and stir well, bringing to a gentle simmer. Cover and simmer for about 30-40 minutes until the pumpkin is totally soft. Blend, add a little more stock if you want the soup to be thinner and serve, with hunks of bread. 

4.12.13

Hello Georgina Fuggle.com


It's taken me three years of thinking, gentle persuasion and remembering to ask photographers for images. I was convinced a website cost the same price as a sofa (you can tell I'm growing up; I now compare utility bills, woollen coats and website building to the cost of a sofa). 

In fact, this particular website was free (or very nearly - I had to pay for a domain?) and took me 12 hours to build. I sat in front of my computer, scanning like a seasoned secretary and ignoring my screaming eyes. I built, converted, designed and adjusted pixels until the early hours. 

Here is the result! Now hire me please.

25.11.13

Clementine and Clove Pudding Cake



I didn't quite manage stir up Sunday but felt a real baking urge this morning. We had mountain of clementines that proved to be my catalyst and got my little cooking brain thinking... I’ve made a whole orange cake before (a simple method of boiling a orange, skin and all and then blitzing to pulp and incorporating into a gorgeous almond mixture) but never with clementines. A little digging and I found Mrs Nigella has already thought ahead.

So this is her recipe with a tweak here and there (and the addition of a tiny bit of ground cloves). Its perfectly ‘puddingy’, all squidgy and dense.

So simple, you should try.

Clementine and Clove Pudding Cake

375 grams clementines (approx. 3 medium-sized ones)
6 medium eggs
225 grams caster sugar
250 grams ground almonds
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon ground cloves

Method

1.    Put the clementines in a pan with some cold water, bring to the boil and cook for 1 to 2 hours. Drain and, when cool, cut each clementine in half and remove the pips. Dump the clementines - skins, pith, fruit and all - and give a quick blitz in a food processor (or by hand, of course). Preheat the oven to gas mark 5/190ºC/375ºF. Butter and line a 21cm / 8 inch Springform tin.
2.    You can then add all the other ingredients to the food processor and mix. Or, you can beat the eggs by hand adding the sugar, almonds, baking powder and ground cloves, mixing well, then finally adding the pulped clementines.
3.    Pour the cake mixture into the prepared tin and bake for an hour, when a skewer will come out clean; you'll probably have to cover with foil or greaseproof after about 40 minutes to stop the top burning. Remove from the oven and leave to cool, on a rack, but in the tin. When the cake's cold, you can take it out of the tin. I think this is better a day after it's made, but I don't complain about eating it at any time.

19.11.13

Little By Little


My beautiful friend Annabel (v good at designing jewellery), my stylish friend Calandre (v good with numbers) and I set ourselves a little challenge. Could we create a collection of jewellery based around food? Could we have them made out recycled silver? Could they be made in the UK? Could we give a percentage of profits to underprivileged women who would love to be able to afford a necklace or two? The answer was yes, yes, yes. 

May I present our beautiful spice necklaces; Elle Star Anise & Elle Cardamom. 

With nerves flying and worries creeping, we stood behind our first stall last week, our sign hung behind our heads. Familiar adrenalin pushed out confidence and kick started 'Little by Little'. We sold, packaged and wrapped boxes in black ribbon before congratulating ourselves with a glass of mulled wine. 

 Message me if you might like to buy one for Christmas (RRP £60) and I can pop the jewels in the post!

12.11.13

Copenhagen







A mini break to Copenhagen; the city of super cycle highways and prestigious pastries. Those Scandi's sure have style; even the streetlights seemed somehow beautiful. We sauntered down streets, bought a lion mask, tried on fabulous clothes and fought crowds of food lovers for a local smorgasbord.

It was three days of heaven and I couldn’t recommend it more. Take a short fight, kick back and enjoy the design.

7.11.13

It's a wrap - H&F on Brighton Beach

A week of popping up on the the beach is over and life returns to normality. My body still aches a little but I'm a sucker for punishment and wouldn't want it any other way. Our Lebanese feast triumphed, guests left smiling, more prosecco was drunk than we expected and we were full every night. It must have been the sea air.

28.10.13

Pasley Pesto

Alice and I are cooking like mad women for our Brighton Bonanza; it's a dream to chase ingredients, experiment with recipes and create our restaurant. The opening night is Wednesday, exactly 24 hours away. 

 Today was stacks of parsley pesto.

22.10.13

Crabapple Jelly

A weekend at home and there waiting was the crabapple tree, dripping with wares. So let's just say, the Saturday was accounted for. 

Crabapple Jelly 


INGREDIENTS
4 kg crab apples
1 kg caster sugar
1 lemon, juiced
                 
Makes 6 x 500ml jars
                 
DIRECTIONS
1/ Wash the apples, removing any bruised fruit. Put in a saucepan, fill with water to just cover the apples.
2/ Bring to the boil and simmer until the fruit is soft (about 30 minutes).
Pour the pulp into a jelly bag or several layers of muslin and let drip overnight into a pan. Avoid squeezing the bag or it will make the juice cloudy.
3/ The next day, measure the juice, and add sugar in the ratio of 10 parts juice to 7 of sugar. Add some lemon juice, then bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
4/ Keep at a rolling boil for 40 minutes, skimming off the froth. To test the set, chill a dessertspoon in the refrigerator.

 

19.10.13

Pumpkin & Maple Cake



I spent the day taking photos with one of my oldest friends Tori. She is an inspiration to me & her blog, Wellies & Vogue is one of the most beautiful I've seen. 

She shot a pumpkin cake that I'd spent the morning making; a yummy mixture of banana, pumpkin and maple. It could double as a pudding if doused in maple syrup. Or maybe served with a spoonful of ice cream.