Monday, 27 May 2013

Choco Almond Banana Loaf

Wow, it seems like such a long time since I had baked a cake... It has all been about cookies and breads recently.  This time, I tried to use some semi ripe(!) bananas instead of the usual 'ripe' the recipes call for and I personally think this gave a great balance of flavour with just a hint of banana rather than the very sweet banana taste.  I actually loved it this time around - each to their own hey!

The loaf was lovely and moist inside and I loved the texture of the almonds..  I am an almond lover!
Such a simple recipe which I adapted from Simply Recipes.


4 semi ripe bananas, mashed (or ripe if you prefer!)
190g plain flour
80g butter, melted
150g granulated sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 & 1/2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
50g chopped dark chocolate
70g flaked almonds

1) Preheat the oven to 175C. 
2) Line a 4x8" loaf pan with baking paper
3) Using a large mixing bowl, mix the bananas and the butter
4) Mix in the sugar, egg, baking powder,  salt and vanilla
5) Add in the flour 
6) Gently stir through the chocolate and flaked almonds
7) Bake for 60-70 minutes until a skewer inserted comes out clean
8) Leave to cool in the pan for 15-20 minutes and transfer to a cooling rack.

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Blueberry & Lemon Brioche

Following the success of the previous batch of brioche baked at the weekend, it was time to start experimenting.  My daughter, Maya, is totally obsessed with brioche of any sort and I thought this would be a tasty alternative to the chocolate variety she loves!  And... they were a great hit, both mummy and Maya very pleased with the result of these tasty lemon and blueberry treats.  I think the filling of the blueberries would work equally as well in the Swirly Chocolate Buns which I made earlier in the year.

A touch of lemon drizzle was added to half of these but some I left with just the dusting of icing sugar.  So pretty. 

In the action!


750g plain flour
140g butter at room temperature
7g pack yeast
40ml warm water
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
330g light brown sugar (divided into 2 batches)
250ml warm milk 
3 eggs
3 tablespoons golden or maple syrup
1 teaspoon salt
250g fresh blueberries
zest of 2 lemons
a few drops of sunflower oil

(Optional Lemon drizzle)
Icing sugar 50g
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Icing sugar for dusting (optional)

1) Using a large bowl, add the yeast, granulated sugar and warm water.  Leave for 10-15 minutes until dissolved.
2) Add half of the brown sugar, desired syrup, eggs and the milk.  Mix well.
3)  Add the flour and salt to the mixture.
4) Knead until smooth.  Lightly grease a bowl with the sunflower oil and add the ball of dough.  Wrap clingfilm over the bowl and leave to rise for 1-2 hours, until doubled in size.
5) Roll out the dough into a large rectangle (30x40cm approx)
6) Sprinkle with lemon zest, sugar and blueberries and very tightly roll.
7)  Cut into approximately 12-16 slices and insert into the muffin pan.  These will expand so don't overfill them!  Leave to rest for 30 minutes
8) Preheat the oven to 175C.
9) Bake for 30-35 minutes until golden brown and well risen.
10) Leave to cool
11) Mix icing sugar with fresh lemon juice and drizzle over the top of the brioche or dust with icing sugar.

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Carrot Cookies

Having tried the latest concoction of these supermarket cookies, I couldn't wait to get started and with carrot cake as one of my favourites, these had to be a winner.
Cake like cookies, with a handful of golden raisins and little chopped nuts thrown into the mixture gave them yummy gem centres.

I loved these cookies but would perhaps flatten the cookie mixture whilst popping onto the trays, to make then a little thinner.  Either way - they are lovely, i'm sure!

Carrot Cookie Recipe
260g plain flour
125g sugar
110g butter
1 egg
fine zest of 1 lemon
60g finely grated carrots
50g golden raisins
30g chopped nuts (optional)
1 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 205C
Line 2 baking sheets with greaseproof paper
Add flour, salt and baking powder into a bowl. Set aside
Cream together the butter and sugar
Add and mix in the egg
Gently stir in the grated carrots, lemon zest, nuts and raisins.
Add in the dry ingredients. Mix until incorporated
Drop tablespoon fulls of mixture onto sheets, leaving an inch gap

Bake for 10-12 minutes until lightly golden brown

Monday, 13 May 2013

Cinnamon Toast Cookies

Oh the smell of these cookies was just divine!  It reminded me of Christmas, with all the lovely cinnamon fragrances.  When they were baking in the oven, I literally could not wait to get started!  They were no disappointment either and went down a little treat with my nightly cuppa! Stored in an airtight container, they remained fresh and full of flavour. ...well, that's if they last that long!  

I actually found this adapted recipe from Baker Royal but omitted the cream cheese, which seemed to work equally as well.


320g plain flour
225g butter, softened
65g brown sugar
65g granulated sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 tablespoon cinnamon
50g granulated sugar

1. Add flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon into a bowl and set aside.
2. Cream the sugars and butter until light and fluffy. Slowly add the egg and egg yolk.  Mix well.
3.  Add in the maple syrup and vanilla extract until combined.
4.  Add the flour mixture and fold until completely incorporated.
5. Divide the dough into 2 logs and roll in greaseproof paper.
6.  Chill for atleast an hour.
7. Preheat the oven to 175C and line 2 baking sheets with silicone mate or baking paper.
8. Slice the dough into 1/4inch thick rounds and place onto lined baking sheets.  Leave an inch gap between for spreading.
9. Mix the topping and cover the tops of all the cookies.
10. Bake for 10-12 minutes until lightly brown around the edges.
11. Leave for 5-10minutes until cooled, them transfer to a wire rack.

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Brownie Birthday Cake

Ahh, Sonia's birthday cake for the weekend could not be anything but these gooey chocolate brownies all stacked up!
My favourite recipe with a crunch of the chopped almonds inside, even made the grown ups happy! 

Pasteis De Nata (Portugese Custard Tarts)

I had experimented with freezing the left over egg yolks from the pavlovas I had been rustling up earlier and thought it was time to give them a go! Wow! I shall definitely be doing this again.  I have read about perhaps whisking each egg yolk in a small amount of sugar before freezing, but I didn't do any of that and they seemed to be fine.
This is about as close I feel I could get to this recipe but I will keep up with the experimenting to try and get a better flakier pastry as the ones in Porto last year.  On the whole a fab recipe from
I amended the quantity of pastry but other than that, it worked a treat! 

It is fine to fill them to around two thirds full as they totally rise and then deflate! 

  • 350g packet puff pastry
  • 225ml (8 fl oz) milk
  • 3 tablespoons cornflour
  • 200g (7 oz) caster sugar
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 6 egg yolks

Prep Time 20 mins

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Chewy Lemon Cookies

I don't think I need to explain but these have got to be the most devine lemon cookies I have ever tried.... Go on, see for yourself! So simple too! 

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Mango & White Chocolate Muffins

With my daughter indulging in all the baked goodies mummy rustles up in the kitchen every week, I thought I would try her favourite fruit to zap this up a little and also convince myself, that there is a cheeky one of the 5 day involved!  Mangoes are her favourite and they  worked surprisingly well in this adapted recipe.  Okay, so I dressed them with a little white chocolate but this gave the muffins a lovely surprising texture in each mouthful :-)  They also freeze quite well once baked, so, in the event of any to spare, they can be saved for later. :-)


  • 110g butter
  • 250g plain flour (plus 1 tablespoon flour)
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 125ml milk
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • Flesh of 1 mango chopped into small chunks
  • 50g chopped white chocolate


1) Preheat oven to 180C.  Line a muffin tin with 12 muffins cases/liners
2) Add flour, baking powder and salt and set aside
3) Cream the butter and sugar until light and creamy.  
4) Add the vanilla essence and eggs and beat well.
5) Alternately add and mix half of the milk and flour mixture, ensuring it is incorporated well. Repeat.  
6) Gently coat the mango and chocolate with the remaining flour and stir through into the mixture.
7) Fill the muffin cases two thirds full as they do rise very well.  Bake for 25-28 minutes until brown.  Insert a skewer to ensure they are cooked through.