Saturday, 24 December 2011


Last year I made some cinnamon biscotti to give as Christmas gifts and wanted some biscuit type thing to make to give this year. I made a batch of biscotti but after a bit too much googling I decided to adapt last years recipe and omit the butter given that traditional biscotti is butter free. Any how I thought it all looked rather nice but when my mum tried it later she declared it not fit to give as it was likely to break everyones teeth!
Now as much as I love my mum she is no baking / biscotti expert and after trying it myself softened when drunk with a hot drink I thought it tasted lovely.
However, my confidence in giving the biscotti was somewhat dented so when I came across this recipe on the Pink Whisk for Lebkuchen I thought it would be worth a try as it seemed like it would last a few days after baking (which was pretty crucial when giving food as gifts) and in general I love anything with a cinnamon spicy taste.
When I made this I'd already spent the morning on my Christmas cakes, then made biscotti so I wasn't totally paying attention and forgot to add a few ingredients - ie the almonds and substituted the honey in the original receipt for golden syrup. That being said these turned out pretty well - and I was delighted when a few people commented they were the perfect texture for Lebkuchen ( which I must admit I had no real idea what it should be like, although apparently a little soft is just right!).
I put them in presentation bags to give as gifts, tied with some ribbon and a homemade/ designed gift tag ( more on this later) and in the end I was pretty pleased with my efforts.
My recipe adapted from The Pink Whisk

85ml golden syrup
115g dark brown sugar
30g butter
225g plain flour, sifted
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 egg, beaten
To ice:
25g icing sugar sifted
2 tsp water
Makes 24 biscuits.

Place the syrup, sugar and butter in a pan. Heat until butter and sugar have melted then remove. Sift together flour, spice and bicarbonate of soda. Beat the egg in a small cup, then add 1/2 of the flour mix and 1/2 of the eff and mix well. Then add the remaining flour and egg. Pur the dough into a bag and chill in the fridge for a few hours.
Remove from fridge and roll to about 5mm thick - I used quite a bit of flour on my work surface.
Preheat oven to 160c Fan/180c/Gas Mark 4. Cut out your biscuits with cutters or flattened into rounds.
Bake in the oven for about 8 minutes till golden brown. Leave to cool on tray to firm up.
Make up water icing then brush over biscuits. Apply a second layer of icing if desired. I think these would also be nice with a litte chocolate on one layer.

Monday, 19 December 2011

No Croutons Required Festive Photo - The Princes Tree

I was out for dinner in Glasgow on Saturday night and took this image of the hanging tree in the Princes Square. I love Christmas lights and they created a lovely atmosphere in the centre. I'm quite pleased with how this picture turned out, and it makes me keen to keep taking photos and to keep learning about photography. I'm entering this for No Croutons Required Festive Photo as hosted by Jacqueline at the fab blog Tinned Tomatoes.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Mini Christmas Fruit cakes

As usual I wanted to make some festive gifts for work colleagues and friends. Over the last few weeks I've become majorily addicted to pinterest and have made various festive things like bows, tags, and my usual homemade christmas cards.
After the success of my christmas birthday fruit cake earlier this year I wanted to make mini ones to give as gifts.
I used a combination of mini baked bean cans and mini loaf cases with my normal recipe adjusting the timings to cook to about 1 hour 1/2 rather than the normal 2 1/2 hours.
These turned out really well although I've only sampled a small piece so far.
The marzipan and icing was okay to do, but I couldn't work out how to decorate on a small scale. Initial attempts at making stars and shapes and colouring left over marzipan and fondant icing looked a bit clumsy,  so I bought some small decorations and pearls which I think looked okay in the end.

Monday, 17 October 2011

Chocolate cinnamon spice tealoaf

I finally got round to sorting out some recipes which I had pulled out from various magazines and supplements and with some friends coming round at the weekend,  I thought it was a good opportunity to try something new.
Everyone seemed to enjoy the cake and loved the spicy cinnamon with the chocolate. Personally although I thought this was a nice cake to enjoy with afternoon tea, I'd much prefer it if it had more of a sweet chocolate taste ( only cocoa was used in the actual cake) or if it had been smoothered in chocolate icing or buttercream ! When I have cake I like it to be really indulgent and sweet!

I stuck to the recipe (more or less) although reduced the eggs to 3 and adjusted the quanities of sugar and flour accordingly.

The recipe can be found here as its definitely worth a try!

Update - I've started sketching again and am considering starting a sketch book style blog rather than just posting recipes. I've also been doing wee crafty projects and learning more about photography/ photoshop ( does anyone else find theres not enough hours in the day!)

If you haven't already I'd also urge you to use - a fab scrapbook style site to post images from around the web which you like. I was actually thinking I needed a better way to organise my favourite bookmarked sites and thought a virtual scrapbook would be a great idea - when i then hit upon pinterest.

Monday, 29 August 2011

Chocolate chip cookies


I wanted something quick and tasty to take to my friends house for a girls night. Suprisingly I've never actually made chocolate chip cookies before and a quick search on tastespotting etc returns thousands of variations. This is my adaptation which is quick and easy and these had a nice balance of being both soft and chewy. Be sure to leave plenty of room on the baking tray as these really expand. Next time I might try making them a bit more bite sized and might a variation with oats and raisins.  

Chocolate chip cookies
Makes 20 medium cookies

100g milk chocolate chopped
125g unsalted butter
100g caster sugar
75g soft brown sugar
1 free-range egg
2 tsp vanilla extract
150g plain flour
½ tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/gas mark 5. Line two large baking sheets with baking parchment. Chop the chocolate into chunks and set aside.
Heat the butter very gently in a saucepan until it has just melted. Meanwhile, put both sugars into a mixing bowl. Pour the melted butter on to the sugar and beat with a wooden spoon. Break in an egg and add the vanilla, then beat until blended.
Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into the bowl, fold in, then add the chunks of chocolate.
Dot heaped pudding spoonfuls of the mixture on to the baking sheets, leaving plenty of space in between - they really spread out - and bake for eight to 10 minutes, until the cookies are turning golden brown. Remove, leave on the sheets for a couple of minutes to harden up, then carefully lift the parchment on to a wire rack and leave to cool completely.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Roast vegetable strudel

I've spent the weekend experimenting with new blog headers and am still on my quest to learn more about baking, photography and web design etc. Anyway, for now I thought I'd post a recipe for a really tasty and easy veggie dish. I've made various adaptions to this recipe so feel free to alter and adapt to your taste.


1 Red Pepper

1 Courgette



Red Thai Paste

Oyster Sauce



Soy Sauce

Pack Filo Pastry

1 egg to brush

Chop up vegetables and roast in tray with oil and garlic for about 1 hour or until roasted to liking (you might want to cut veggies into smaller pieces)
Add roasted vegetables to wok with bit of oil – add thai paste (good dollop) + oyster sauce and heat through add bean sprouts and more sauces as desired.

Leave to cool slightly then lay out sheets of filo pastry

Lay out sheets of filo pastry – 3 layers per parcel into squares (usually get about 4 per pack of pastry)

Lay mixture in middle of pastry – fold up sides – turn upside down onto baking tray brush with egg.

Oven cook for 15 minutes until pastry is golden.

Serve with couscous or mixed leaves with balsamic dressing.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Product Review - Kelloggs Hot Oat Krumbly

If there's one thing that gets me up and out of bed in the morning it's the though of breakfast. For years now I've eaten cereal for breakfast as I find it keeps me going all morning and there's such a huge selection available that I never grow tired of it. In fact, given the choice I think I could actually eat cereal for a couple of meals each day.
I tend to mix my cereals every morning allowing me to create my own mix and a nice balance of crunch and flavour - usually some All Bran, Special K , something fruity and some granola for added energy with the odd handful of chocolate thrown in for good measure.
Anyway, one of my favourites of late is this Hot Oat Krumbly option from Kelloggs. This is designed to be eaten with hot milk but personally I love the buttery crumbly taste with a little cold milk. The clusters are a good size and are light to eat with a lovely sweet buttery taste which were a lovely addition to my usual bowl. I've purchased a few boxes of this and have since noticed that my usual supermarkets don't seem to have them in stock. I hope this isn't one of Kelloggs unpromoted lines which pops up and disappears unannounced. If you come across these I'd grab them quick !

Monday, 11 July 2011

Holidays approaching

I've been off work for the past week now and other than submitting my Photography assignment haven't made much progress with the whole blogging/ updating my website intentions that I had. My head is in Vegas mode and we fly out on Wednesday morning. I hope to take some great shots and have the best of intentions to research website design, and do more blogging on my return. In the meantime, thought I'd post some favourite sweet treats which me and my sister used to enjoy at birthday parties. One is never enough and the addition of the syrup and toffees to the well known rice krispie treats makes these extra yummy!

Rice Krispie treats

  • 200g toffees (individual sweets or a slab)
  • 125g butter or margarine
  • 200g marshmallows
  • 200g Kellogg's Rice Krispies
  • 2 tablespoons golden syrup or to taste
All measures are approx; feel free to throw in extra toffees and syrup according to taste!
Over a low heat, in a large pan (an old pan will do) melt together first the marshmallows, toffees and butter. Then add the syrup and stir slowly until mixture is completely melted (keep heat very low or mixture will burn).
When mixture is melted remove from heat, chuck in rice krispies and stir to coat them completely to make quite a firm mix.
Spread out on a large flat tray and mark out squares using a sharp knife once mixture has set slightly. Allow to set fully about 1 hour before removing from tray.

Cut up and enjoy!

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Nutella brownie bites

My mum wanted to bake some cakes to take in for work colleagues who sadly are being made redundant. Nutella is a firm favourite in our household although its been ages since I've actually had some. I came across this quick and easy recipe on numerous recipes including here. The recipe made 6 medium size bites whereas the original recipes seemed to be based on mini versions.
The recipes was quick and easy but the only problem was we didn't want to taste any so we'd have a batch to give away, so we ended up sharing one which didn't disappoint.

Makes 6 regular or 12 mini brownies

175g Nutella
1 egg
5 tbsp all-purpose flour
chocolate chips or chopped chocolate ( can also substitute dried fruit or whatever you fancy!)

1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C. Line 6 muffin holes with paper liners .
2. Whisk the Nutella and eggs together in a bowl. Once smooth and well-blended, add the flour, cinnamon and chocolate chips. Continue whisking until well blended.
3. Spoon the mixture into the muffin liners, filling them about ¾ full. Bake for 12 mins (7-8 mins for the mini ones) and cool on a wire rack . Top with dusted icing sugar or cocoa.

These also proved me with another chance to try out some food photos. I'm reading lots online about food photography and realising its not an easy task getting great shots with so much to consider - lighting, props etc. I might need to invest some more money, time in props and think I'll purchase a reflector to help with lighting issues, but in the meantime I think this image is a slight improvements.


Saturday, 11 June 2011

Birthday cake and updates

It was my dear Gran's 90th Birthday and wanting to do something special I decided to make her a cake. I based this on a traditional fruit cake, but left out the marzipan layer and just put some ready rolled icing on the top. I was quite impressed with my attempts at decorating and the fact the icing went on relatively flat. I cut out some flower shapes from the icing and stuck them to the cake with some marmalade (again we don't like the traditionally used apricot jam). Not bad for a first attempt I think, as the cake tasted great and I had a lot of nice comments from my gran and my work colleagues who were grateful for the fact my gran wanted me to share it round!

Makes 1 x 20cm cake

150g plain flour, sifted
50g self-raising flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1tsp nutmeg
100g ground almonds
3 medium eggs lightly beaten

Fruit mix
mixed bag - seedless raisins, sultanas, mixed cut peel 500g
200g ready to eat stones dates chopped
150g - 175g butter chopped
200g dark muscovado sugar
1 tbsp black treacle
1 tbsp golden syrup
100ml orange juice or alcohol - brandy. whisky etc

Marmalade warmed
Ready rolled fondant icing - 1 pack

1. Preheat oven to 150, fan 130.
2. For the fruit mix put all the ingredients into a pan and heat gently, stirring occassionally until the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved. Increase te heat, bring to the boil , then set aside to cool for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, grease and line a 20cm round cake tin with non stick baking paper.
3. Put the flours, spices and ground almonds in a large bowl and stir in the cooled fruit mixture and eggs until combined. Tap the tin to remove any bubbles.
4. Bake in the preheated oven for 2 hours or until golden and firm to the touch. To check if it's cooked insert a skewer to the centre. ( I found my cake took about 2 hours 25 minutes keeping a carefully eye on it!)
5. Turn the cake onto a wire rack and leave to cool completely before removing from tin.
6. At this stage you can ice/ decorate when the cake is completely cool or I left it till the following day.
7. Heat some marmalade and spread lightly over cake. I actually slightly levelled the cake to give a smooth finish.
8. Unroll the ready rolled icing and roll to about 1/4 inch thick . Place over cake and smooth down with your hands. (This may take a few attempts).
9. Cut off excess icing, - these can then be used to make shapes / decoration for the top mixed with a little food colouring.
10. Decorate as desired and enjoy - keeps well in greaseproof paper or a tin for about a week.

In other updates, I hope to start blogging more and showing some of the images I've been taking whilst doing my photography course which I'm really enjoying. I think my food photography is still leaving a lot to be desired, but hopefully with practise ! (I'm very envious of professional looking food photos and blogs! - it's something I aspire to!)
I'm also trying to play about with photoshop and making my blog and website more attractive in the weeks to come.
I welcome any comments along the way and would love to become more involved in the blogging community :)

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Banana flapjacks

Hello again and Happy Easter,

I'm really not sure if anyone is following my blog but if so I apologise for my lack of enthusiasm with the posting!
I hope to post more regularly and show some of the recipes and products I've tried. I'm also starting a photography course so I hope to experiment with some of my photos and hopefully learn some helpful food photo tips.
For now I thought I'd share some yummy banana flapjacks which were pretty delicious!

Banana Flapjacks

125g butter

2 tbsp golden syrup

85g light muscavado/brown sugar

350g porridge oats

2 medium ripe bananas, peeled and mashed

1.Preheat oven to 180c. Lightly butter a baking sheet, 9” x 13” (I used a 9-inch square pan).

2.Gently melt the butter, sugar and golden syrup in a large saucepan.

3.Once melted, stir in the porridge oats until completely combined.

4.Stir in the mashed banana and turn out the mixture into the greased sheet. Press down firmly.

5.Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until the flapjacks are starting to brown around the edges and the middle feels firm to the touch. They will firm up as they cool, so leave in the baking sheet before cutting and removing. Cut into 2-3” squares.