Friday 30 July 2010

Scones - secret recipe

So I've decided to share my secret recipe for scones. This is because, for me, no cake beats a freshly baked scone and so I would like you to make and then invite me over for cream tea ;)
I used to use Nigella's recipe and they were fantastic, but every so often I could detect the salt of the bicarb and there's nothing worse than that. So I've come up with a way that you don't need the bicarb and these are beautiful and light and buttery (no trex!)

225g self raising flour sifted with 1 tsp of baking powder & a pinch of fine salt

30g golden caster sugar

60g/2oz cold, diced unsalted butter

1 egg- beaten, with 4 tablespoons of equal parts milk and Total 2% greek yogurt

1.Sift dry ingredients into a large bowl. Pour in wet mix and stir quickly into the dry mix with a knife in cutting motions. 

2.Once all parts have coming together, tip onto a floured surface and gather into a ball (be light and gentle) 

3.Sprinkle flour over the top and onto a rolling pin and then gently roll out so the top is flat but still 2.5c tall. 

4.Dust a cutter of your choice and press out scones, shake gently to get the scone out and then pop onto a baking sheet. I use silicone sheets and a baking non stick spray. 

TIP - If you put them all very close together it helps them to 'grow tall' :)

5.Brush the tops with a mix of egg and milk wash and put into a preheated oven of 220C for 10 mins and then cool. 

6.Once cooled, slice open and smother in clotted cream and strawberry jam. 

Wednesday 28 July 2010

Pret-A-Portea at the Berkeley

I’m waiting in the hotel lobby for my friends to join me in the Caramel room at The Berkeley and I can hardly contain myself. I have been baking all morning, doing a tea for Louis Vuitton and resisted many a scone and sandwich for this moment. You see the Pret a Portea at The Berkeley is no ordinary tea. This is a tea menu that changes every 6 months to reflect the themes and colours of the fashion world. 

We are shown to our  table and order loose tea which comes in beautiful Paul Smith china. Eve is celebrating her Birthday, Jo is celebrating her engagement and I am celebrating calories. Hehe, no I am celebrating with them.

We are brought our individual plates of sandwiches and then a three tier cake stand is placed in the middle of our table by our lovely waiter who shows us the Spring/Summer catwalk trends and point out (with a nifty laser pen) which cake is inspired by which designer. If you go, do note that they replenish your plates as you wish so fighting over the one macaroon 2.It's well worth £35.00

(check out the Anya Hindmarch bag in the middle)

I’ve got to say, it was inspirational and I can’t wait to recreate! We were asked if we wanted to take any of our favourites home and we given these cute little card handbag boxes with our goodies. Like true ladies of leisure (for the day) we hopped into a cab to Cowshed on Carnaby Street and my sugar shakes were calmed by the most wonderful massage, then for a little shopping…

Jo, Eve, Me

Tuesday 27 July 2010


I've now added Friands (easier to say than Financiers) to my afternoon tea menu. I've never been that keen on them to be honest until I had one at Gails in the Northcote Road and I was amazed at how moist they can be. I think I've got the recipe down now so will share with you as you must make and they last a few days.

I make raspberry and white chocolate and also blueberry and orange zest, I top them with flaked almonds but you don't need to. 

The first thing to do is brown the butter, this takes about 5 mins. You need to leave it alone and not stir, let the solids come to surface, then let it bubble and then let it foam a little until you can see it's brown underneath. This makes the butter richer and nutty. The last pic in this foursome is of the whole mix so don't let that confuse you!

Sift 70g of ground almonds with 160g of icing sugar. Mix in another bowl 70g of plain flour sifted with a teaspoon of baking powder. Mix with the icing sugar and almonds. 
Now pour in your butter and mix a little with a knife. 
Now add the yolks of 4 large eggs slightly whisked and 10g of runny honey.
Pop mix 3/4 of the way into sprayed moulds (pic of moulds I use below)and top with berries and almonds. 
220C for 10 minutes. Cool on rack and once cooled, dust with icing sugar. Voila. 

Monday 26 July 2010

Borlotti Beans on Toast

I've had a breakthrough! It's dawned on me that if I'm baking all day or on a job I need to start the day fulfilled so I'm not picking and on a constant sugar high. Once you make your own baked beans you wont go back to Heinz. I used to make them with tomatoes and a bit of chorizo, and cannelini beans because they're softer. But borlotti beans have a great nutty taste and firmer texture, you can add anything to these beans once they're cooked.. garlic, onions, herbs, lemon juice and a grassy olive oil. 

Tuesday 20 July 2010

Snakey Cakey

My baking buddy Hannah asked me if I had seen Jamie Oliver's recipe for Snakey Cakey that he created having visited Marrakesh. She showed me it in his book and I was drooling. So I gave it a go, it looked fun and it was! 
The only thing I changed was using less rose water. I love rose water but only wanted that subtle hint rather than hit so I used half. I jotted down ingredients and made the method up by memory so here goes..

1 Pack of Filo pastry

375g unsalted butter
375g icing sugar
4 eggs
375g ground almonds
50g crushed pistachios
4 tbsp rose water (I used 2)
zest of 1 orange and 1 lemon
1 heaped tbsp of flour

Mix all ingredients in a bowl.
Overlap the filo to about 2m long on a clean countertop.
Spoon out mix in a long line and work quickly, rolling the filo up into a long sausage. (seal with melted butter brushed onto the filo)
Now roll up into a coil and pop into a buttered tin and cook for 45 mins or so on 180C

Jamie served this with a date and orange sauce, I reckon just vanilla icecream would be best, I only had double cream at home.

Thursday 15 July 2010

Cute boys with Cupcakes

Liana had the best idea for a blog - cute boys photographed with cupcakes - simple pleasures eh?!
Check it out, it's a fun guilty pleasure and you can submit your own photos too! Check it out at  
My brother Cameron is featured today with one of my own cupcakes ;)

Wednesday 14 July 2010

Ramen noodles

My favourite Ramen in Japan were with thick noodles in a pork broth with toppings that held their own space on the surface - sliced pork, spring onion, dried seaweed. I'm not fond of that funny pink and white kamaboko :( 

You'll find great noodle places and not so great. We went to one where you click a button on what looks like a vending machine with pictures and a voucher comes out, you hand this to the waitress and wait for your food, very cheap and very salty!! 

So I bought myself some ramen bowls to bring home and as I struggled to fit them in my suitcase I made myself a promise that I would use them when I got home - and not for cereal, but for their intended purpose. You know, I was quite impressed the improvised result was yummy and I jazzed things up a bit with enoki mushrooms and homemade chilli oil. SH-LUUURP.

Tuesday 13 July 2010

Bruscetta - kind of...

Don't let the weather this week stop you eating all that colourful seasonal produce available to us, just take your picnic indoors! I have fallen for waitroses' "wheat 'n' rye" bread (when it's toasted). 
I cut each slice in half, pop it in a really hot pan with some olive oil and flip over until crispy, then cool on kitchen paper. 
Then top with whatever you like, I like crumbled feta, basil, mint, baby plum tomatoes and parma ham that I crisp up in a frying pan for a few seconds. 

Monday 12 July 2010

Scandinavian Kitchen, 91 Great Titchfield Street

This is the kind of place that makes you jealous of all the people that come here for a feeling of 'home from home' ..but the coffee here is really good, so is the cake and the open top sandwiches are dinky. I picked up the bar of "plopp" because I am immature and thought it funny, when I got to the till the guy told me to "grow up!" then I giggled and he asked me if I wanted some "spunk" mints. 
He was a lovely guy, gay as a handbag full of rainbows and reflected the welcoming feel of this place. 

The walls of the toilet downstairs are adorned with Abba record covers and upstairs in the cafe customers sip on their lattes on the wireless under the nordic flag bunting. 
Next time you're in Oxford Street, go for a stroll round the back roads for something different. 
As if cake wasn't enough, Eve and I went for icecream in Selfridges for a shopping break. When I got home, Nick had cooked me Rainbow trout, aw you are lovely Nick. 

Borek and Halloumi and Watermelon Salad

You can't beat a few packs of Feta and Halloumi in your fridge in the summer, you can chuck them in any salads or side dishes to liven them up, or if you're like me, just fry slices of Halloumi to snack on (best on BBQ but more effort!)
Best thing is they seem to have a good shelf life too. 

Yesterday I made Pan fried Halloumi, watermelon, salsa verde & mint salad and then wrapped up some chopped feta, parsley and a drop of lemon oil, salt and pepper in layers of filo, fried for two minutes on each side and drizzled with honey. Deeeeelicious!

Tuesday 6 July 2010

Chosan, 292 Upper Richmond Road

Chosan has to be one of my favourite restaurants. It's a lovely little Japanese in Putney run by a man and his wife and it feels like they've welcomed you into their home for dinner. The interior is small and dark, with wooden panels and carpet, slightly mismatched furniture complete with goldfish swimming around a tank.

 The menu is varied enough to keep you coming but not too big that you wonder how they keep everything fresh. Jess and I went for the Special Sushi Boat, which I think was about £16.00 and this included a damn fine miso soup and some fairly average ice cream to finish. As you can see the boat is pretty brimming with beautiful fish and I surprised myself when I couldn't finish it all! They also do good lunch deals, the restaurant is quiet at lunch but peaceful and you can get a yummy bento box. 

I've decided I am going to also snap a pic of who I eat with (if they let me) so a)it doesn't look like I eat out on my own ;) and b)because the friends I dine with are special to me. Jess was sitting up like an eager looking school girl when I walked into Chosan, we hadn't seen each other for a while and it would seem she was brimming over with gossip to tell! 

Monday 5 July 2010

Yoga retreat Food

I had the pleasure of cooking for this lovely lot at my family home in Spain for a Yoga retreat. It was all vegetarian food and I didn't miss meat or fish one bit all week because when you're cooking for so many people you can make such a variety of dishes, harder when you're cooking for yourself! 
The produce out in Spain is so fresh and wonderfully colourful, I love to be in the middle of cooking something and to run out into the herb garden and get creative last minute. 
When I get a bit of time, I will write out some recipes for my favourite dishes.