Month: December 2013

Happy new year bakers

Wishing all my lovely readers a happy, healthy, prosperous and cake filled 2014. Thanks for making my 2013 so great!


Giveaway: Greenpan non stick bakeware

Greenpan giveaway


Happy Christmas bakers! Did you have a great time? Have you eaten your own weight in Quality Street like I have? I hope so.

I thought as we head into that funny time of year between Christmas and New Year’s Eve that it was the perfect time for a giveaway. I’m  sure you got lots of great baking gifts but no keen baker ever has enough do they? So I am thrilled to be able to share with you these great Greenpan baking tins which I have to giveaway to one lucky reader!

Greenpan giveaway

Have you heard of Greenpan? You’ve probably seen them in department stores and good kitchen shops around the country. They’re a really eco friendly company. I didn’t realise how bad the manufacturing processes of kitchen pots, pans and tins are until I discovered Greenpan. This new bakeware collection is called ‘Boston’ and has a supreme ceramic non-stick coating surface called Premium bake, which is PTFE, PFOA and lead cadmium free. This makes it completely safe even at really high temperatures. The collection is designed to distribute the heat evenly so any biscuit bakers out there will know how annoying it is when the front cookies aren’t done and the back ones are – this puts a stop to that. The coating also makes clean up a complete doddle! 

Built for durability and strength they’re  not lightweight due to their internal steel bodies so you know they are going to last a lifetime. I love a heavy baking tray. So, I bet you want them now don’t you?

To win this trio set worth £48 all you have to do is share this post on any social media platform then leave me a comment saying that you’ve done that and a winner will be selected at random on 1st January 2014 at midday.

Good luck


For full terms and conditions click here


Meet the expert: Jane Curran, Editor of Feel Good Food

Jane curran FEELGOODPICJane Curran is the Editor of Feel Good Food Magazine and the Food Editor on Woman and Home. I’ve known Jane for about 10 years now. I can’t believe it’s that long but it’s true. She came to work at Woman and Home while I was on maternity leave with Beau. I was lucky enough to sit opposite her at the magazine’s offices and let me tell you as a baker sitting opposite the food editor is a GOOD thing! Apart from the fact that she would need dishes to be ‘taste tested’, she is a font of all knowledge and I used to grill her all the time! I was lucky enough to be able to interview Jane at this busy time of year.


How did you get into cooking and baking? 

Because my Mum could burn water and was an atrocious cook! Then I went to France when I was ten and fell in love with great food.

Who inspires you most in the cooking arena and why?

Probably Simon Hopkinson whose accuracy, attention to detail and sheer brilliance as a (former) chef and writer makes me think I can achieve anything. He also rekindles my love of classic French food. But I also admire Yotam Ottolenghi for his fabulous flavour combinations.

What’s your favorite cook/ baking book?

There are many but I love Nigel Slater’s The Kitchen Diaries  I and II. Great cook books are as much for me about the writing as they are about the food.

How did you come to be at Woman & Home / Feel Good Food ?

I had worked for the Editorial Director years before as her food editor, so when the vacancy came up she gave me a ring! We launched FGF together 6 years ago.

How long have you worked at FGF?

We launched it as a one-off magazine for Christmas 2006 and it did so well we just kept going! Now we produce six a year.

What does your job entail?

The whole package from recipe development, design concepts, photography, content and commissioning extra features such as table inspiration or gadgets. And being my own PR and marketing machine!

What’s the best part of your job?

Working as a small team to bring out the best and most beautiful magazine we can.

What’s the worst part of your job?

Anything which involves admin!

What recipe should we be making from the latest issue of FGF?

Make the cover recipe – it’s super simple, delicious and looks great – how food should be. (EmmaMT here- this recipe is will be in the very next post! Check it out)

Have you had any big baking disasters?

I did “lose” a rich and sticky chocolate cake which slid off its base to the floor on the way to the table. And failed 3 times to make a simple Victoria sponge in the test kitchen until I finally realised that a freelancer had put plain flour in the self-raising flour container…Oh and I tried to make macaroons on a boiling hot day – the humidity just made them collapse when they came out of the oven!

Will you be cooking this Christmas?

We are 12 this year and are round at my sister’s house – she has a huge table. I am doing the starter (gravadlax with home made rye soda bread), the cheese (actually that’s Harry, my husband’s job as he is the expert) and pudding (traditional Christmas pud plus a frozen chocolate and mocha parfait with salted praline). I am leaving the turkey to her!

Where’s your favorite place to go out to eat?

This does change on a regular basis but as a treat, it’s currently Trullo in Highbury which is the most fantastic Italian restaurant. We have never had a bad meal there, the staff and service are faultless – their food is what Italian food should be; the simplest but the best ingredients put together with care and love.

What kitchen gadget could you not live without and why?

I would have to say my Santoku knife – without a great knife I just can’t chop!

What’s your favorite dinner party meal and dessert?

Hard question for such a greedy person, but possibly spaghetti alla vongole for a starter or main and a classic lemon tart with raspberries and passion fruit cream.

What’s your guilty food pleasure? 

Heinz tomato soup with loads of grated Cheddar in it – my poorly comfort food!

Are you a Tea or coffee drinker? 

Both. I am a Nespresso addict in the morning then my addiction moves on to Twining’s Earl Grey tea after 11am.

Check out Jane’s White Chocolate cheesecake recipe in the next blog post. It’s perfect for Christmas as she says!

Feel Good Food: White chocolate cheesecake recipe

 Feel Good Food Cheesecake recipe

After interviewing Jane Curran she kindly gave me permission to share with you her delicious recipe for White chocolate cheese cake taken from the Christmas issue of Feel Good Food. A winner on any Christmas table I’m sure! Over to Jane…..

White chocolate cheesecake

Looks rich and decadent but it’s as light as a feather, and so very simple to make! Add the glam touch with white chocolate curls and gold dragees, and that ultimate Christmas sparkle – edible gold glitter! 

Preparation time: 25 minutes,plus chilling
serves 10
easy/prepare ahead


for the crust

  • 165g (5½oz) digestive biscuits, crushed
  • 65g (2½oz) butter, melted

for the filling

  • 6 leaves gelatine
  • 500g (1lb 2oz) half-fat crème fraîche
  • 100g (4oz) caster sugar
  • 2tsp vanilla extract
  • 100g (4oz) white chocolate, chopped
  • 250g (9oz) ricotta cheese
  • chocolate curls, gold dragees and edible glitter, to decorate (from cake decorating specialists)
  • you will need
  • 18cm (7in) springform cake tin,
  • lightly oiled


1 Mix together the biscuits and butter, then press into the base of the tin. Pop into the freezer while you make the filling.
Soak the gelatine in cold water until really soft – around 5 minutes. Heat the crème fraîche and sugar really gently in
a small saucepan until the sugar dissolves. Keep stirring! Now add the softened gelatine and the vanilla and stir until the gelatine has dissolved. Leave it to cool.
Meanwhile, melt the chocolate in
a bowl over a pan of simmering water. Whizz up the ricotta in a food processor until smooth, then add the melted chocolate and the cream mixture. Pour over the crumb base and place in the fridge to set, preferably overnight.
Carefully remove it from the tin – a hot cloth around the edge of the cake tin will help it to loosen easily – then place on
a cake stand and decorate. It will keep perfectly well decorated in the fridge
for 24 hours.
Per serving: 342 calories, 22.5g fat
(14g saturated), 29g carbohydrate


Special thanks to Jane for her time and allowing me to share one of her amazing recipes with you all.


The perfect Hamper :

Lakeland hamperLook what arrived earlier this week! A beautiful gift wrapped hamper. I love it when a company takes the time to make a gift look extra special. I was really impressed.

Now, I love a hamper and what’s more it’s usually because of my love of baskets and wicker more than loving the contents, but when it comes to Lakeland hampers you know you’re onto a winner.

Lakeland hamper

But just look at this. It’s white with a black fabric lining!!! My mind was whirling with the endless storage possibilities this basket could be used for – Darcey’s bedroom cupboards (that’s how I keep her shelves organised- removing the lids and using them like drawers)? my work props?, shoe storage? toy storage? I just couldn’t decide. But all that storage thinking went right out the window when I opened it up.

Lakeland hamper

It was packed full of lovely French food. You know what hampers are usually like? There’s always something that you would never in a million years want or choose- dodgy piccalilly / another christmas pudding that no one will eat / strange flavoured tea! Well this hamper had a great selection and between Tim and I we were really happy with every single thing in it. This is what it contained.

  • Cornouaille AOC Apple and Cider Jelly .
  • Traditional Country-Style Pork Pâté
  • Rillettes of Breton Sardines .
  • Apples à la Bretonne Caramelised in Salted Butter .
  • Pure Butter Breton Cookies from Pont-Aven .
  • Strawberry and Rhubarb Traditional Extra Jam.
  • Cream of Scampi Soup with Muscadet and Guérande Sea Salt.
  • Pure Butter Breton Biscuits .

As it is so late in the day (Christmas wise) I think this hamper has probably sold out but I thought I would share it with you all as you still have time to order any other last minute gifts from Lakeland to arrive in time for Christmas and with wrapping like this who wouldn’t? Check out the Cottage delight collections or the Brie baker gift set. They both look delish, but I think top of my list would be something a little less edible! Look at these hemisphere cake tins in different sizes! (Tim are you seeing these???- not so subtle hint there!) I can think of a ton of uses for them.

Make sure you order by 12pm on Thursday 19th December to get your order in on time, or you can always click and collect. What’s more delivery is free if you order over £30 worth of products. so what’re you waiting for? Finish off that Christmas list now!


Top 10 baking books, the one’s you’ll want under your tree.

TOP 10 baking book giftsYou can never have enough baking books can you? Every one has something different to taste and each one can inspire a whole meal, cake or just give you that excited feeling we get when we find something that just makes out mouth water. This list is a combination of the ones I have that I reach for all the time and the ones that I really want to get my hands on. They would all make the perfect last-minute Christmas gift so, in no particular order….

1. Lorraine Pascale:

A lighter way to bake

A Lighter Way to Bake

This is one of those books that’s at the top of my wish list. There’s something very fresh and exciting about Lorraine’s recipes. The book is broken up into Breakfast and brunch with recipes like raspberry and banana no-knead bread and Apple and apricot spiced hot cross buns then goes on with Bread -Honey and oat bread anyone? , Savoury bakes like butternut squash, basil and onion Quiche, then Puddings and desserts– I fancy the plum and almond frangipane tarts with sticky Amaretto glaze- how good do they sound?  Cakes– there are ten to choose from, Cookies and traybakes – I’m really into tray bakes at the mo. Teatime treats – these are cupcakes recipes, meringue kisses and scones. Mmmmm, Special occasions and entertaining these are recipes for parties and Christmas. The Cashew, cranberry and spice biscotti caught my eye. Pastry and basics – ooooh sweet honey shortcrust pastry. I want some!

So in other words it’s jam packed. Just a quick“click to look inside this book” on Amazon with all the beautiful pictures and I was hooked!

2. The Humming bird Bakery cookbook

The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook

This is a book I had my eye on for quite a while, but as I’m not a huge fan of cupcakes I didn’t get it till really recently. I’m so glad I did. I think the reason I’m not a huge fan of cupcakes is because I’m never happy with how they turn out. This book puts an end to all that!

It’s broken up into more than just cupcake recipes. There are cupcakes – obviously, cakes, pies, brownies and bars, muffins and cookie recipes and I have to admit that it is so much better than I was expecting. I thought it would just be more of what you can get in the shop and it is – but more!

The recipes look really delicious and there are so many to choose from. You can put inches on your hips just drooling over the pages. The lemon Meringue pie looks particularly appealing as does the chocolate cheese cake (an old favourite of mine)and the nutty apple loaf.  They can keep the green tea cup cake though! I’ll stick to the pumpkin ones and black bottom cupcakes instead.

I think this is going to become another fave on my cookery book shelf. I’ll report back!

3. Delia’s Cakes

Delia’s Cakes

How do I only own one Delia book and that is the ‘How to cook’ which I picked up for 99p at a charity shop! This is a book I should have! It was first published in 1977 so it’s 35 years in print means her recipes can definitely stand the test of time! This new edition with it’s modern day makeover has been tested for gluten free recipes too which is brilliant. I’m always looking for good gluten free recipes.

Delia Smith has a way of explaining the reasons why we mix/whisk/fold a cake to get the best results. The book has loads of beautiful photography show casing her recipes. The sections are Sponge cakes, loaf cakes, family cakes, little cakes, muffins, biscuits, chocolate cakes, celebration cakes and dessert cakes.

 I NEED this book.

4. Great British Bake Off: Everyday

Great British Bake Off: Everyday: Over 100 Foolproof Bakes (The Great British Bake Off)

I have to say that I have two of the British Bake off books from the first two series The Great British Book of Baking: 120 best-loved recipes from teatime treats to pies and pasties and The Great British Bake Off: How to turn everyday bakes into showstoppers and I refer to both of them all the time. I’m not normally one to go back for more of the same type of book when it comes to baking books, but I admit that I am hooked. I have found the cakes from both these books and this latest additon to be easy to make and taste amazing, always coming out perfectly so I was really keen to get my hands on this one. They also have really good food (not cake) recipes with delicious flavouring. Something I need to learn more of.  Watch out pies. I’m coming to get you! 


5. Mary Berry’s Baking bible

Mary Berry’s Baking Bible

I love, love, love this book! It’s one of my favorite baking books ever. It really is my bible (that and The New Complete International Jewish Cookbook but I don’t want to put a Jewish cooking book here on a Christmas list!)

It’s my first point of reference whenever I want to bake something quick, easy and that I know will turn out well. It has so many recipes (over 250) that you will always find something new. I did a more thorough review on this book which you can find here, but trust me it’s worth every penny.

6. Paul Hollywood, Bread

Paul Hollywood’s Bread

Would you believe that in the Top 10 baking books on Amazon this Christmas, the Mary Berry/ Paul Hollywood/ British Bake off books total six. SIX!!! So it stands to reason that they know their stuff.

I have Paul Hollywood’s How to Bake book which I really liked (you can see the full review of that book here) I haven’t baked much bread,- compared with cakes, but after attempting a few from his book and having a lot of fun/mishaps when making brioche recently I am now more keen than ever. I love the way Paul explains everything in such easy to understand detail. I will make beautiful breads and this is the book to help me!

7.The Cake decorating bible, Juliet Sear

The Cake Decorating Bible: Simple steps to creating beautiful cupcakes, biscuits, birthday cakes and more

I reviewed this book when it first came out back in February this year and have refered to it often when making cakes. It’s great for cake decorating novices and experts alike. Full of inspiration and great hints and tips. It’s also really beautifully shot which makes it a winner in my book. With so many celebrity baking books on the shelves this is probably a more unusual Christmas gift which is why I think it’s a winner.

8. Leiths: How to cook or

Leiths Baking bible

Leiths How to Cook (Leiths School/Food & Wine)

Leiths Baking Bible

I was given the Leiths Baking bible for my birthday by the team at Woman & Home a few years ago and what isn’t in this book you just don’t need to know! It is huge and packed with tons and tons of recipes for ANYTHING you may want to bake. It’s really detailed and explains how things work and why they don’t, why you should and shouldn’t do certain things, what gluten does to the flour/eggs etc. It’s the kind of book you will pass on to your kids as it has everything in it you could possible need. So, when the How to cook book came out I wanted to get it for the same reason. It has everything in it from how to boil an egg to how to prepare fish/meat/poultry – even how to carve!  Each stage is explained – which when it comes to cooking I really need.   It has over 500 recipes in it and I’ve made loads from it. You can see my full review of the book here

9. Peggy Porschen

Boutique Baking: Delectable Cakes, Cupcakes and Teatime Treats

I love Peggy Porschen. Her attention to detail is exquisite. This book has both amazingly designed cakes and biscuits as well as her delicious recipes. Her Lemon Limoncello cake recipe is one of my biggest hitting posts. Her recipes are seriously mouth watering.

The book is packed full of beautiful ideas and the photography is lovely. Real eye candy. Here’s my detailed review

10. Mich Turner’s Cake Masterclass

Mich Turner’s Cake Masterclass: The Ultimate Guide to Cake Decorating Perfection

This is another book I refer to often, especially when I am baking a celebration cake. Mich’s books have tons of really useful information in them like the different amounts of marzipan needed to cover a cake or sugarpaste to cover a cake board. She has really easy to follow steps on how to create a beautiful cake and her designs are just beautiful. The book also has everything you need to know from lining a cake tin to the essential kit you need. There’s a good reason it’s called the ‘Cake Masterclass’.

Mich’s cake recipes (which come with the amounts of ingredients needed for different size cake tins) are really yummy. There are chocolate cakes, moist fruit cakes – my favorite one ever and the only recipe I use, cupcakes and tea cakes.  I made her chocolate and cherry cake for one of the layers in my sister-in-law’s wedding cake and it was deeeelish.

This is the perfect gift for a keen baker or cake decorator. I highly recommend it, if only for the eye candy.


So there you have it. Which one’s do you want? Which one’s do you have? Or are there some that I have missed off that you think should be there? Leave a comment and let me know. I’d love to know what’s on your list?



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