Based on my 18 years of experience of baking bread for my family, friends and customers, here are my favourite tips on getting each loaf perfect every time.
How to get your bread perfect every time!
It’s interesting how people are often very confident when baking cakes and bakes, but when it comes to baking bread people think it’s some sort of black art, where everything needs to be just spot on and all measured perfectly.
To some extent that’s true, but once you master a few basic things, bread baking is actually a lot more forgiving than making cakes.
My favourite chocolate concrete recipe and the best one I've tried so far! Brings back memories for school dinners and so simple to make. Crunchy on the top and served with custard, cream or just on it's own!
Here is what you need for chocolate concrete cake:
This chocolate truffle recipe is so easy, that you’ll wonder why you’ve never tried it before. Anyone can make these and they are great to make as a little gift or take to your next dinner party invitation.
There are various versions of this recipe and seriously you can’t go wrong no matter which type of chocolate you use. If you use milk chocolate the final truffle will be obviously sweeter than if you use plain chocolate. You can even use 50% dark and 50% milk to go somewhere in between. This way the chocolate truffles won’t be as sweet as with only milk chocolate. If you are not too sure about the alcohol in this recipe, you can replace the rum with rum flavour (or even different type of alcohol) or leave it out altogether!
First of all bring the cream to boil and melt the butter. Then pour on to the chopped chocolate and let to melt. Heat the bowl in the microwave or on the hob if the mixture is not melting quickly enough. Leave to cool down until it’s cold to touch, but before it starts to set.
Add the rum and a tiny pinch of salt. Whisk the mixture by hand using a wooden spoon or with an electric whisk until it’s nicely smooth, fluffy and light in colour.
Let to set a little in the fridge for about 30 minutes (or longer if you want to)
Wearing catering gloves scoop about a heaped teaspoon at a time and roll it into small balls. Leave to set in the fridge for a further 30 minutes or more.
Melt and temper your chocolate and dip or roll your truffles in the melted chocolate. You can either leave your chocolate truffles covered with just the chocolate (and perhaps add cocoa nibs or sugar sprinkles as a decoration or you can also roll them in cocoa powder.
Leave to set in the fridge for further 15-20 minutes. If you are using cocoa powder to finish your chocolate truffles, take excess cocoa powder off by rolling the truffles in a sieve. Server straight away or keep in an airtight container for up to 4 weeks in a cool and dry place.
As you might know a couple of years ago I started to bake Victorian Scotch Cake for the local tea room at Down House. The recipe is taken from Emma Darwin's Recipe Book and it's been a huge hit with all visiting the home of Charles Darwin.
Hot chocolate is just the perfect warm and satisfying drink to enjoy over those long winter months.
It can also be enjoyed practically any time – whether for breakfast, as a mid-morning or lunchtime drink – or later in the day, for tea or just before you go to bed.
And the basic recipe can be spiced up by adding a hint of nutmeg, ground pepper or cinnamon.
One great way to make Hot Chocolate that little big extra special is by making it with Nutella or any other hazelnut spread.
Ah Nutella! If you’ve never come across this gift of chocolate goodness, then indulge me (literally) with a few words by way of explanation. For many chocoholics, Nutella is the best thing since sliced bread. Actually, Nutella is great on sliced bread but that’s another recipe!
There are so many different recipes for sourdough starter. And because of that, it's hardly surprising that when you are just starting to bake your own bread, it can be very confusing to know which recipe is the best one to choose.
I have to admit that although sourdough bread baking is a bit of a science, I've never been too worried about the exact proportions, ingredients and optimal temperatures. Sure it all helps, but it's more important to understand what's behind all of this, and not to worry too much about the perfect recipe for successful sourdough starter. My own sourdough bread starter, which is about 15 years old, is a mixture of all different flours and we always use it in my sourdough bread baking course.
I'm not really sure when exactly the unicorn craze started, but these days, unicorns seems to be everywhere. And they are not just for the children. There is definitely something mystical about unicorns - they might or might not be real, they have wonderful flowing hair and they love rainbow colours. If you like me, think that we could all do with some magic in our lives, here is a little something to bring that rainbow into your day...
Unicorn Hot Chocolate Recipe
Here is what you need:
White chocolate, chopped in small pieces (or white chocolate drops)
Food colouring - pink, blue or purple
Rainbow sweets or any other pastel coloured sweets