Thursday, 29 September 2011
The book is a flip book, with the pages split into three separate sections – a cupcake recipe, an icing recipe and an idea for how to decorate the cupcake. These pages are interchangeable so you can mix and match different flavours and eventually choose a page from each different section that you most like. There’s 23 ideas in each section ranging from the classic to a bit different. For the cupcakes it ranges from Lemon to Doughnut cupcakes, for the icing from Vanilla to Pineapple butter flavours. I chose to make the Apple and Almond Cupcakes with Penuche Frosting, decorated with Sprinkles.I chose to halve the recipe which I later half regretted as the results were so delicious we could have easily eaten a full batch very quickly! The recipes were easy to follow and created very moreish results. The cupcake was very soft and tender, almost muffin like with the involvement of the fruit. The Penuche icing was not a flavour I’d heard of before which was why I wanted to try it. I learnt that penuche is a type of fudge, so this icing just involved melting together butter and brown sugar and then beating in icing sugar. It was thick and very sweet and I thought worked nicely with the apple base – the finished products were like toffee apple flavours in cake form! I chose simple sprinkles for decoration but there were lots of ideas in the book, from lavender sprigs to crushed cookies to crystallized rose petals.I think this book would be a great gift because it is fun and light hearted but the recipes are still interesting and actually work. I also think it’s good for inspiration, mixing new flavours or ideas and creating something unique. I think the book would benefit from real pictures of the food as there’s only one at the very start, but the cartoons are still fun. Plus, as the title suggests, there are 10,000 ways to combine all the different ideas so it’ll keep you busy for a while! Ivy Press have kindly agreed to give away another copy of this lovely little book – all you have to do is comment on this post by the 7th October saying you’d like a copy and I'll pick a winner with a random number generator! Good Luck everybody!
The Ivy Press
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Disclaimer: Ivy Press sent me this book for free but all opinions and words are my own.
Tuesday, 20 September 2011
I love making tarts. The whole system just seems to fit together well – the pastry making, the making of the filling whilst the pastry is in the fridge, the making of any topping whilst the first part is in the oven. Tarts take a while and often have lots of different stages and bowls needed, but I find it quite therapeutic. I also like baking pastry blind – one of the first things I learnt to make was Lemon Meringue Pie with my sister and the pastry was always my job. However, this tart was completely new to me in that it skipped that step altogether.I always presumed that you always needed to blind bake a pastry case before the filling went in. Logistically, I just figured that pouring a wet filling onto raw pastry would equal disaster and ‘soggy bottoms’. Whilst this is true for many tarts, not so with this one! The pastry is rolled out and shaped exactly to the tin (there’s also no need to leave excess pastry on in case of shrinkage with this recipe) and then on goes the frangipane filling. Top that with slices of raw plums, pop in the oven and thirty minutes later a delicious tart is cooling and awaiting plates and forks! The almond filling for this tart stays rather soft and does not fully set into a sponge. This contrasts nicely with the crisp pastry – the pastry was crisper then any I have made before, even without blind baking! Depending on which plum variety you use, the fruit can add extra sweetness or a bit of sharpness on top. The recipe is an Angela Hartnett, and she suggests making the recipe into mini tarts. Whilst I know these would look really pretty, I wanted to keep this one large tart so that I could cut a little sliver every time I went past ;) Hope you enjoy!