Sunday, 30 June 2013

Red Pepper Sausage Rolls

I’m currently working at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships, serving in the umpire’s restaurant.  I’m essentially a posh dinner lady (think the mass catering challenges in Masterchef) but it’s actually really enjoyable, soaking up the Wimbledon atmosphere and listening to the stories of the different umpires. The umpires come from all over the world to judge the tennis – from Sweden, Italy, Australia, America, China and more. One bizarre fact I have realised whilst serving them at lunch is that many of the ones travelling from further afield have never tried a sausage roll before! I wasn’t aware that sausage rolls were a particularly English thing, but time and time again this week I have watched as the umpires point curiously at the sausage rolls and ask me to explain exactly what they are before nervously deciding to try one out. As a result, this week’s recipe is in honour of them!DSC_0202I’m not going to lie, I made these ages ago. I was going through my photos on my computer and discovered these hidden away in an obscure file, dated November 2012. 7 months have passed between the baking and the posting of this recipe, for no explainable reason as they were so good!DSC_0192Sausage plait is a midweek favourite at my house (I’m surprised I’ve never blogged it) and is something I’ve gradually introduced all my friends to as they have come for dinner at mine or I had it in my school packed lunch. It has also recently been made more famous here in the UK due to Nanny Pat frequently making them on Towie. Essentially, a sausage plait is just a giant sausage roll that can be sliced and shared, but this Alice Hart recipe shakes it up a little with some added flavour from sweet roast peppers. The result was really delicious, super juicy, bursting with flavour – I think the umpires would be a big fan! You can find the link to the recipe here – enjoy!sausage roll

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Jaffa Cakes

Funny story to go with these Jaffa cakes. I took them to my friend’s house when she was holding a get together of all our friends at the end of Easter break. I always forget to bring in the stuff I make for my friends and I knew that my family of 3 didn’t really need 18 of these lying around! One of my friends brought their cousin with them, who had never met any of us before. He didn’t realise that it was me who had made the Jaffa cakes, and therefore remarked when the tin was passed round ‘Who on earth has time to make Jaffa cakes? Don’t they know you can buy them?’ Cue much, much embarrassment! Luckily he was very sweet and spent the rest of the evening trying to recover from the gaffe. I’d also like to point out that he ate 4!DSCF9452It did make me think though about the funny things having a food blog can make you bake. Some people were similarly bemused when my friend Emily and I made marshmallows, considering you can buy a big bag for 90p! However as you know I really enjoy making homemade versions of shop-bought favourites – you can see my previous challenges here. I’m not sure how well known Jaffa Cakes are out of the UK, but basically they are little flat cakes with a disc of orange jelly on top, covered in dark chocolate. I was inspired to make these after seeing the recipe here by the guys at Sorted Food –my new favourite way to procrastinate is exploring their site!DSCF9453These were really satisfying and fun to make and I was so pleased when they worked perfectly and looked like the original! After a few baking fails I love it when a plan comes together. I followed the recipe to a T and my only comments would be that I think the amounts for the jelly and chocolate were too generous – 200g of each is stated in the recipe and I only used 100g of jelly and 120g of chocolate. I didn’t really mind about the excess jelly as it comes in packets of 200g so you can see why the recipe just says to make all of it (and it was very soothing when I came down with a really sore throat!) but I think it is good to have a heads up. Happily, I also got 18 instead of 12 final cakes and mine were a decent size! The ratios of the layers in the final jaffa were perfect – the classic thin Jaffa cake layers all combining perfectly. I also really liked the method of using a packet of orange jelly cubes (the finished cakes are still a lot more homemade than normal!) and jazzing up the flavour with the juice of an extra orange, which made it really strong and stand up to the chocolate. Enjoy! :) DSCF9465

Monday, 10 June 2013

My Birthday!

So, last Tuesday was my birthday! The big 18! A lot of my friend's birthdays are around October, December, February so I’m definitely the baby of the group and it is so exciting to finally be 18. I’m also currently in the midst of exams so I haven’t celebrated too much yet, but I did take the day off from revision on my actual birthday to spend the day with family. My Mum always makes my birthday cake and whilst there have been some pretty epic ones in the past, this years was the best yet and I felt I had to share it with you! Take a look:photo (2)Aand a little bit closer…photo (1)It was a work of art! The top was made of white and dark chocolate buttons, chocolate raisins, truffles, sprinkles, chocolate drops and Vice Versas and I think it took a pretty long time as it is so intricate. It was inspired by this Telegraph article, specifically this cake – it was very similar only slightly smaller as there are only 3 of us and it was still pretty big! The cake itself was chocolate with chocolate buttercream (which tasted just like Ben and Jerry’s Phish Food ice cream!) and was absolutely delicious. As well as marvelling (and then eating) this, we also went out for a champagne afternoon tea at the top of the National Portrait Gallery in London. This was the view by our table…photo (4)and this was my afternoon tea…IMG-20130604-00949Yes, we had one of those each! The bottom tier consisted of: a mini blueberry pavlova with chantilly cream, a wedge of Victoria sponge, a hefty slice of carrot cake, a millionaires shortbread with chocolate ganache, a chocolate brownie and a scone with jam and clotted cream. Each! I tried my best but was eventually defeated and had to take the brownie home with me. Every aspect was delicious, I think my favourite was the Victoria sponge as I often find them too dry or heavy for me and this one was so feather light. It was the best way to spend my birthday and I would thoroughly recommend it if you have a celebration coming up. Hope you enjoyed reading about it! These white chocolate truffles coated in coconut were the final touch…photo (5)