Archives for the month of: February, 2013

In my mind macarons have always been one of those things that are super difficult to make and you have to be professional and delicate and French to make them properly. Saying that, they have been on top of my list of things to learn/attempt for ages now but I’ve been putting it off for fear of total failure. After making these I can say that they are really simple and fun to make. There’s more than one way of making macarons but I decided to look around for the simplest recipe, anticipating that lots of steps, ingredients and time would be involved in the process. I chose this recipe because it seemed friendly, and it was. Only a couple of things to note: I added food colouring to the meringue, the temperature is 140°C, and they only really take about 12 minutes to bake. Oh and another thing, do not use greeseproof paper like I did on my first batch. They stick, so badly (Doh!). Use baking paper or those wonderful reusable baking sheets. Because I didn’t want to make anything too serious I chose to make raspberry sherbet flavour. I did this by sprinkling some raspberry sherbet on the macarons just after I piped them, before they had formed a skin, and then baked them. For the filling I made a buttercream with jam, fresh raspberries and more sherbet (recipe below). I put them in the fridge after assembling them which makes them taste even better. I survived my first macaron attempt and can’t wait to try some more complex combinations!

Macaron Filling

(for approx 20 whole macarons)

250g icing sugar

80g unsalted butter (room temperature)

2 tbsp seedless raspberry jam

splash of milk

a handful of fresh raspberries

2 tsp of raspberry sherbet

Beat together the icing sugar, butter and milk. Then add the jam and sherbet and mix until smooth. Add in the fresh raspberries and mix until the berries are broken up in to large pieces.

Brownies are one of my favourite things to eat. Probably because they are mostly chocolate. I also love them because you can put so many twists on them. These brownies are from the Lallapolosa Baking Company. They are delicious, rich and gooey and, as well as the amazing plain brownie they also have raspberry, peanut butter and triple chocolate. My personal favourite however was the salted caramel pecan brownie which is one of my favourite combinations and was the perfect balance between sweet and salty. I’m totally hooked on them and think I could probably eat a whole tray of them on my own. They sell these incredible brownies and other sweet treats at Farmers Markets in Surrey and you can also order them online.

Yesterday I did a course at the Peggy Porschen Academy in London. I’m a big fan of Peggy Porschen for her amazing designs and how perfectly finished all of her cakes are. I chose to do the ‘Stripy Rose Cakes’ day course as it covered learning how to ice and cover individual cakes, make roses and some piping techniques. It was such a brilliant day and I really did learn so much. It was so nice to be surrounded by people that were equally enthusiastic about cake! The Academy was lovely with a great workspace and atmosphere. My teacher Elyse was great, she was very clear and made every step easy to follow. The part I found the hardest was making the roses, something that I have been wanting to be shown how to do for a while. It was great to learn properly and to be given lots of tips to help make them extra pretty. I think with some practice I will really get the hang of it. In the afternoon we were given a cup of tea and a piece of cake to taste. It was lemon and so delicious. I can’t recommend the Academy enough, I’m really pleased with how my cakes turned out and even happier I now have some new skills.

Music is undoubtedly for me one of the best things in life. It has an ability to express how you’re feeling like nothing else. So for Valentine’s Day I think song lyrics are perfect. Especially ones you can eat. I put a range of different ones on biscuits, some are new, some are old and some are just silly. There are so many great songs to choose from and next time I’m going to make bigger biscuits as some of my fave lyrics wouldn’t all fit on. I do like how personal these can be, and there are definitely a few reserved for some special people. Happy Valentine’s Day! x

I like to think that the people I love already know how much I love them. But in my opinion you can never go too wrong with giving people cake to show them just how much.This is a really simple easy cake which combines two Valentines classics, strawberry and chocolate. It’s a marble cake with part chocolate and part pink vanilla sponge, topped with fresh strawberry frosting. To decorate I sprinkled some edible rose petals. It has a lighter feel than your normal Valentine sweet treat and I will definitely be sitting down to a cup of tea and slice of this with loved ones on Thursday.