Tag: cake

The Food Report: Peach Recipes

The Food Report: Peach Recipes

I’ve mentioned before how I struggle to pick favourite dishes but I can always pinpoint my favourite flavours. Almond, peppermint and lemon are all high up on my list, but peaches are really where it’s at right now.

Today I’m sharing two peach recipes – a quick and delicious salad and a peach upside-down cake.

Peach Upside-Down Cake 

This recipe originally came from the Masterchef Everyday book, which I hadn’t yet made anything from despite owning it for months. You slice peaches, toss the slices in demerara sugar and lay them in the bottom of a cake tin. I used a lovely new springform tin which made it super easy when removing the cake. The peaches are topped with a very simple sponge – cream 125g each of butter and sugar, add 2 eggs and 250g self-raising flour – you know the drill. The recipe suggested that the batter would pour over the peaches, but mine was very thick so I added around 4 tbsp milk to get to a better consistency. I always think a little milk and a good whisk can take a sponge from alright to an incredible crumb. The recipe recommends a 1 hour bake but mine was done before this even with the milk, so keep an eye on it!

Then all you’ve got to do is the flippy-plate trick and you’ve got an incredible cake that looks impressive and tastes delicious!

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This cake is perfect still warm with custard or cream, but it also stands up well to an afternoon cup of tea (and it’s pretty great for breakfast too, let’s face it).

Grilled peach and feta salad

Once you’ve made a peach cake you might find that you’re left with a spare peach. If you’re anything like me you’ll probably want to throw it in a salad, right? I know to some the whole sweet and savoury mash up is controversial, but it’s my dream.

First I grilled up my peaches – 4 minutes on each side under a good hot grill. A few little burnt edges might appear. I love those, but pull them out if you want your peaches a little more solid and unburnt! You could also pop them in a shiny griddle pan if you’ve got one of those (I really want one if you’re looking for a gift to buy me!).

Whilst the peaches were grilling I chopped a big handful of spinach with a little mint, popped it on the plate, and then glugged some balsamic vinegar into a little pan on a high heat. Add some honey and then let it bubble away into a nice thick glaze that coats the back of a spoon. Slice up the peaches, put them on the spinach, crumble over some feta, throw that balsamic around (pop it in a squeezy bottle if you want to pretend you’re a chef on the pass) and then some finely chopped basil (or more mint – get some herbs on there, basically).

This recipe would also be perfect with a soft goat’s cheese, and you could turn it into a more full meal by adding a good bread or serving it as a side with other salads or some chicken.

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What are your favourite peach recipes?

The Weekly Report

The Weekly Report

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I can’t believe how long it’s been since I last wrote a proper weekly report. By way of apology this post is extra picture heavy and you can still see what I’ve been up to in my WOMAD report, a review of Phom Tea, a Game of Thrones themed Nom Nom Club, a review of dinner at Yardbird, or a baking adventure with a very chocolatey cake.

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Watching The bake off (although I’m not a fan of an extra slice), Parks and Recreation (about time), Friends, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. 

Listening to Arcade Fire, James Blake, all the things I listened to in 2009, The Coral, This American Life, an incredible Fleetwood Mac remix that we discovered courtesy of Greg Wilson at WOMAD. 

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Reading I’m halfway through The Hundred-Year-Old Man who Climbed out of the Window and Disappeared in preparation for a Bournemouth based book club next week. It’s charming and hilarious!

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Writing A short story about walking home without noticing.

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Eating Lots of aubergine, halloumi, tomatoes and courgettes. This late summer and the Farmers’ Market have perfectly combined to make me crave all of the vegetables. A Sunday night treat at Host, moussaka with tahini, lotsa spaghetti, a peach upside down cake, the best salad I’ve ever made (recipe for this and the cake coming up on the blog tomorrow), baked feta with lots of herbs, an extra amazing brunch at Boston Tea Party with my dreamy pals, a thrown together mezze, pancakes stacked up with almond butter and agave, a Saturday night dinner at Nolita Cantina with some of my favourite people and a Sunday night curry feast.

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Talking about Bikes, being a tourist where you live, gossip, how to pick your Desert Island Discs, why one of my favourite people is moving to Yemen, beekeeping and how beautiful Ness Gardens are. 

The Food Report: A Chocolatey Chocolate Cake

The Food Report: A Chocolatey Chocolate Cake

A few weeks ago I made an extra chocolatey chocolate cake for a birthday and it was such a success I thought I would share it here! I have to admit that I am not the hugest chocolate cake fan, so if I’m going to make one it certainly has to be a little decadent.

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As is my usual way I combined a few recipes to create the cake I wanted. I started out with this BBC recipe which made a great base – especially as it is a cake made with oil rather than butter. I wanted to get a really chocolate-y dense finish, though, so I chucked in 100g of chocolate chips with my cake batter. I might not do this again because you really do get melted chocolate inside instead of a beautiful crumb, but it had the others raving so this is up to your personal taste!

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The ganache was taken from another BBC recipe and was also very easy – a simple case of pouring warm cream over chocolate. This was a pourable ganache rather than a thick spreadable one, but I popped it in the fridge to let it firm up and create the perfect texture. Only leave it in the fridge for a moment though, or you risk developing a chocolate ‘bloom’ and loosing your glossy finish. I chopped chocolate using the sharpest of knives to create a messy mix of curls and shards, but you could of course create more professional looking curls or some extra special sugar work for the top of your chocolate cake. This is a rather messy cake anyway so I found it best not to get too precious about the presentation!

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What’s your favourite cake for an occasion? Do you have a favourite chocolate cake recipe?

 

The Weekly Report

The Weekly Report

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A tiny road dragon welcomes you to this weekly report! The things you see during graduation week…

 

Watching Friends, Friends, Friends. 

Listening to Arcade Fire, Gabby Young, Ed Solo, Black Keys, Metronomy, Aloha’s 60s vibes and Heebies downstairs indie. A lot of This American Life. 

Reading All of the papers and lots of blogs, but mostly recipe books.

Writing Short stories about my dreams.

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Eating I’ve been on a massive noodle hype lately and I made an amazing curry. A decadent chocolate cake that I whipped up for a birthday and a properly British cream and strawberry cake (recipes coming next week!). I also had a great dinner at Yardbird, but that’s coming up on the food report tomorrow.

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Talking about Drinking games, embarrassing moments, kisses, holding hands, players, all of the birthdays, Timehop, getting stuck in a lift, painting, how my cayenne plant grew a pepper, Glastonbury food and my favourite Liverpool cocktails. This was a bit of a shorter weekly report this week, but you can go and read those posts instead!

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The Weekly Report

The Weekly Report

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Watching I’m coming towards the end of The Good Wife, a lot of Friends – I’ve seen hardly any of the early episodes so I’m really enjoying them, and just a little Sabrina. I’m also not ashamed to admit I’ve re-watched the Arcade Fire set from Glastonbury too.

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Listening to Arcade Fire and The Black Keys, on repeat, all day, every day.

Reading The papers and poetry.

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Writing Just a little bit of a novel this week, which was pretty great. IMG_3305IMG_3314

Eating A lot of beetroot and feta or goat’s cheese, a lot of vegetables, some Italian bakery treats from the market, a Leaf lunch and a Leaf breakfast. IMG_3317

For Sunday dinner with friends I made a rather excellent Asian marinated salmon courtesy of Jamie Oliver, with some coconut rice, sesame cucumber salad and an Asian slaw. This was one of those meals where you pick a centrepiece and then have to throw together the sides, but it worked out rather well. We followed it up with Eton mess, so everyone was happy!

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Talking about Whether we could just go to festivals for the rest of our lives, boats, party planning, creating a family of friends, weddings, cooking, the importance of cheese, post-Glasto blues, box sets, uni, boys, fame, loving Greenpeace and which popstar we are.

The Weekly Report

The Weekly Report

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Watching I’ve replaced my Masterchef consumption with Great British Menu. Arrested Development – it never gets old.

Listening to Frank Turner, Metronomy, Little Roy, The Strokes, Black Keys, Black Ghosts, Woman’s Hour.

Reading How to Deliver a TED Talk, lots of interesting stuff about careers here, and plenty of poetry.

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Writing Summer drinks recommendations and pizza party posts, plus pages and pages in my journal and my little poetry notebook. It’s good to get inspired.

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Eating Delicious Ottolenghi aubergines and a post-work ice cream treat. I went to Manchester on Saturday and had lunch at Home Sweet Home. On Jess’ recommendation I tried their cheeseburger toastie. Despite expecting this to be a bit of an overly decadent heavy lunch, it was surprisingly light and absolutely delicious. The sweet potato fries were the perfect mix of fluffy, crisp and salty. We followed up with cakes – a peanut butter and chocolate cake for me with Reese’s pieces on top, a cloudy chocolate and buttercream for Jess. This one was made for Katy Perry’s dressing room! I loved Home Sweet Home – I’ll definitely visit again!

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I also had lots of fabulous food at the Farm Feast on Sunday – it’s all coming in the Food Report, of course.

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Talking about 

Making things genuinely homemade – I really believe in making things from scratch, and it’s so frustrating looking for recipes that use loads of pre-made ingredients. Growing things (I’ve been planting all sorts of things in my little window garden), awful games of would you rather, the price of makeup, how to make cheese, how hell is probably a never-ending iMessage typing bubble, inappropriate dreams, making the jump from 10k to half marathon, how much my style fits Manchester better than Liverpool and blogging – my friends Grace and Kat both started new blogs this week and I’m so excited to read their posts!

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The weekly report

The weekly report

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Watching MasterchefThe Office, Black Books, Frozen (yes, again). 

Listening to Radio 4’s The Kitchen Cabinet – I was lucky enough to be in the audience for the recording and I got to ask a question! It was an incredibly interesting recording, and I was obviously very excited to have my question picked. Also a lot of Disney soundtracks, Jack Johnson, inappropriate Tenacious D and a rendition of Like a Prayer that prompted a full on ‘what just happened?’ response.

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Reading Still Hotel World by Ali Smith – it’s fantastic!

Writing Not enough blog posts – I missed this week’s Drinks Report, but it’ll be back next week! I wrote pages and pages in my journal instead, which was just good for my brain.

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Eating So much great food! It was my birthday last week, and I had a week off work so I was back at home in Gloucestershire. We went to the falafel shop for lunch and Hobbs House Bakery (of the Fabulous Baker Brothers fame) for tea and tarts. I also had the most amazing birthday cake – my Mama is the best.

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Talking about The power of the political system, oppression, fear, how much wine is enough, dates, selfies, the worst kind of cookbooks, birthdays, Game of Thrones theories, geographical knowledge, how people are great, climbing (I went bouldering for the first time in a million years and boy, was I awful. Next time I’ll be bad, and the time after that I might just be ok), moral dilemmas, secret Instagrams, what everyone I know was doing when they were 24 (getting married, mostly. Sorry to disappoint), India, interrailing, teaching, Otter’s Adventure (the ultimate CD-ROM game) and uncompromised lives.

It’s been a wonderful week and I’ve been feeling very grateful for all the amazing people and things in my life. It’s good to remember that sometimes.

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The Food Report: Triple pudding

The Food Report: Triple pudding

A Sunday night meal at my Nanny’s usually means at least two delicious puddings to choose from (or rather say “yes, please” to both). Special occasions, though, call for extra sweet treats, especially with so many of us round the table. For Easter Sunday I found myself faced with three puddings.

The first was hidden away in its own paper parcel.

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The second was a banoffee pie with the thickest buttery biscuit base I’ve ever seen and plenty of cream on top.

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The third was a pavlova with chocolate running through the meringue and mangoes with strawberry syrup all over the top. Both of these were stunning, although I’m sure everyone feels like that about their grandmother’s cooking.

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And what about that exciting parcel? It was a simnel cake, of course! Our whole family are absolutely obsessed with marzipan, so a marzipan-topped cake with a hidden almondy centre is pretty much our dream celebration. It’s a traditional Easter cake but we’ve been known to demand it for birthday cakes in the past, such is our love for it.

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We washed everything down with a glass of limoncello and some coffee. Luckily I cycled a late night 10k to cancel some of it out.

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What did you eat this Easter Sunday?

The Food Report: A Weekend in Stroud

The Food Report: A Weekend in Stroud

Some of you may know I come from Stroud in Gloucestershire. It’s famous for wool production, lots of art including an incredible Fringe Festival, Cider with Rosie, Damien Hirst and Thomas the Tank Engine.

Aside from all that, we have some pretty great food. We had the country’s first fully organic cafe and one of the best farmers’ markets (it’s true, we’ve won the award several times), with all produce from within a 17 mile radius.

This weekend I went home for a few days, so I got to sample some of the many culinary delights of Stroud.

On Saturday we took a trip to the Farmers’ Market to sample nibbles and sip hot apple juice to keep out the grey cold.

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I got a little converted to marmalade but I’m never going to love it. Luckily there was plenty of chutney to snaffle. I didn’t take a picture but there was also a Salted Caramel and Calvados sauce. It was intensely wonderful.

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A new falafel shop has opened so obviously we had to sample their delicious treats, which were incredible – especially the amba (a mango sauce and turmeric sauce), but there was a great big smooch of hummus in there and lots of crunchy salad too.

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This was a delicious day, and I haven’t even covered the afternoon’s ice cream trip or Lunch on Friday! I’ll be back with more of that later.

Do you have a local Farmers’ Market? What do you like to eat on a Saturday?

The Weekly Report

The Weekly Report

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Taking pictures of my Saturday shoes seems to be a new tradition

Watching Old episodes of The Office (the US version although I like both!), Mary Berry cooking some great food and silly Come Dine with Me moments. 

Listening to A lot of Fiona Apple, a little smidgen of Arctic Monkeys, some strong Motown and I can’t stop singing this.

Reading The Men Who Stare at Goats, which is ace so far – I really like Jon Ronson’s writing style. I managed to pick up two new cookbooks from the charity shop for just £2.99 this weekend, so I spent my Sunday reading them in bed.

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People usually keep Delia books for life, so they’re well worth snapping up if you see them.

Writing Little poems, letters and tear-stained journal pages.

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Eating A two-hour lunch at Free State Kitchen with Emily including the most incredible affogato, another brunch at Leaf with old housemates, a first meal at the new East Avenue Bakehouse (you’ll see this in detail in the Food Report on Tuesday), a quick home cooked dinner for those old housemates, noodle soup, a roast dinner and a pear and almond cake from my new River Cottage book.

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Lusting after The warm sun.

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Talking about No make up selfies – I think the idea of no make up selfies is amazing; women reclaiming their faces from a patriarchal standard of beauty is incredible. I also think raising over £2million pounds for Cancer Research is incredible. I’m not entirely sure where the two cross over and I’ve seen so many people clearly still wearing make up claiming they have ‘done their bit’ for cancer awareness which is pretty infuriating. All the same, it’s still great to donate. You can text BEAT to 70099 to donate £3 to Cancer Research and if you have extra pennies both Teenage Cancer Trust (TEEN to 70300) and CLIC Sargent (HELP to 70030) are incredible charities very close to my heart. 

In the interests of taking my face back I take selfies all the time (there’s probably a whole post on this to come at some point) and these are a couple of no make up ones:

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I also spent the week talking about big life decisions – it’s been a bit of a tough one but luckily my friends are full of love.