Stem Ginger Sticky Toffee Pudding with Brandy Butterscotch Sauce

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I’m sat at my desk right now, devouring a hot toasted cheese doused in worcestershire sauce. As I ran into the kitchen five minutes ago (having completely forgotten my dinner was in the oven) there was my housemate, preparing a large bowl of apple pie and custard. More like a couple of mini apple pies floating in a large pool of yellow custard. As much as I found it hilarious when he took his bowl down to his room using oven mitts, all be it with a little shame on his face, I found our mutual food habits more endearing.

This cold weather seems to force me to reach for comfort food, as it does so many like my housemate. Hot dishes laden with butter, cheese, cream or anything to put a bit more warmth in my bones.

After Christmas, I vowed I’d jump straight back onto the health and fitness train but it was much easier said than done. Do you know what? I have no regrets over the endless amounts of doughnuts, pastries and chocolate I’ve eaten. Every mouthful has filled me with joy and comforted me when I’m freezing my ass off in the kitchen at work everyday.

On a side note; nobody told me how hard it would be to run home from work at 8pm, in January when its wet, cold and dark all the time. When I could easily just hop on the tube and be home in 10 minutes and well… warm.

Nothing would make me yearn for home and the comfort of my bed, my duvet and my television more than this sticky toffee pudding. Sticky toffee pudding is amazing on its own, but when you add in stem ginger and brandy butterscotch sauce it creates an even more welcoming bowl. The stem ginger is a lovely hit of flavour against the sweet caramel sponge along with the brandy sauce warming your throat.

Straight after I made this, I couldn’t wait to share it with you all. It’s easy, doesn’t require any fancy equipment and is one of my favourite dishes.

I was lucky enough to be asked to post this for Wayfair, a company which sells a vast array of homewares. Find the recipe over at Wayfair.co.uk

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Soft Cinnamon Rolls with a Coffee Cream Cheese Glaze

IMG_5257IMG_5245I know what you’re thinking right now, because I’m thinking it too. I went way overboard with that glaze. Theres enough glaze there for three times the amount of Cinnamon Rolls I’ve baked.

I read on the internet somewhere that smothering your cinnamon buns in glorious glossy glaze while still hot from the oven, made them irresistibly moist as it settled into the cracks. I obviously took this literally and smothered until my heart was content. Trust me, I’m definitely content.

I have to admit though, that glaze really makes these rolls enticing. Just look at that shine! Its captivating buttery smell and glistening top lures you into the kitchen like a kid looking for the leftover cake batter spoon.

Sometimes when I bake something, I have no idea what its going to turn out like. Other times I know its going to be a disaster from the outset. And on the rare occasion everything goes so perfectly, I know whats going to emerge from my oven is going to be great. Just the smell of these as they were baking away in my kitchen made a smile play on my lips.

One thing that made these so perfect was that I made them solely for me. I didn’t spend days thinking of what I could bake for the blog to make it more diverse, interesting or unique. I had a craving for cinnamon buns and I made them. Just the way I like them. Just for me. Rustic, simple and humble. No fancy presentation, just the cinnamon bun. So ordinary but so charming too.IMG_5171IMG_5177IMG_5209IMG_5262IMG_5198IMG_5268

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Momofuku Milk Bar Banana Cream Pie

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People always say, ‘when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.’ I say, ‘when life gives you black overripe bananas, make Momofuku banana cream pie.’

Who knew that leaving your bananas to practically rot away in your kitchen over Christmas by mistake was a good thing?! Blackened bananas are the key ingredient to this unforgettable pie. They are the starring ingredient here, paying homage to the humble banana. This brilliant idea comes from Christina Tosi, creator of Momofuku Milk Bar.

In Tosi’s recipe, she recommends leaving your bananas to ripen until the skin is practically black. This way they become intensely flavoured, soft and with an unmistakable caramel punch to them. Not the kind of banana you’d like to eat though. Save your sweet yellow eating bananas for the hidden middle layer of sliced banana.

I absolutely love the ideas that emerge from the Milk Bar cookbook. Using humble ingredients, Christina Tosi creates approachable and unique desserts. I’m drawn to her diverse use of everyday foods; ones that you wouldn’t typically use in baking. For example, her compost cookie is packed with chocolate chips, pretzels and crisps! The Momofuku Milk Bar book will definitely be a new addition to my bookshelf.

So before you emerge in the new year a new you, healthier and vowed off sugar for the best part of January; I urge you to try this ingenious creation. Theres always room for more pie in my world.

Fun internet watching: If you want to know more about this and watch Christina herself make this pie, you can watch it in the series “The Mind of a Chef” in the episode ‘Rotten.’ A great quick watch I’d highly recommend. Click Here to watch

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Soft, Chewy Chocolate dipped Mini Coconut Macaroons (GF)

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I do realise its Christmas Eve and your all probably either working (bah humbug) or chained to your oven looking like a deranged version of your former composed self after all the hours of planning, shopping, wrapping and cooking.

You’re probably thinking, why the hell is she posting on Christmas Eve? I’ve already bought my ingredients, I’ve already planned my Christmas table, theres no time for making bloody coconut macaroons. I do realise I’m a little late on the Christmas baking train but believe me when I say, these literally take about ten minutes to make.

Never one for being a fan of coconut, these are the last thing I thought I’d ever make. However, one thing thats changed on this whirlwind of a journey thats growing up, is that I love coconut! I sincerely apologise to all the mini Bounty chocolate bars I turned my nose up to as a child, from the Christmas Celebration box.

I decided to make mine really small. At the time, I thought it would be absolutely adorable and that it’d mean I wouldn’t eat as much because they were so small. Fast forward to half an hour after they emerged from the oven; I ended up eating like 15 and it turned out making mini versions of things doesn’t really work out for me.

I dipped mine into glistening melted dark chocolate and sprinkled them with slithers of toasted almonds. This outside crunch makes a lovely contrast to the soft chewy centre. The combinations here are endless; dried apricots and white chocolate, add in a spoonful of chocolate chips or just keep them plain. Whatever takes your fancy, there’s a variation for everyone.

Merry Christmas everyone. I hope your days are filled with happiness, gratitude, family, friends and festive cheer. What a wonderful year its been.

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A trip to the healthy side: Raw Brownie’s (Vegan/GF)

IMG_4856If someone had told me a year or two ago that I’d be someone that ordered a salad regularly in a restaurant, I’d run away and hide all the goodies I could get my hands on thinking they were about to go extinct. It’s true, I whole heartedly adore baking. I revel in the warm fuzzy feeling it gives me, especially when theres Frank Sinatra and a glass of something involved.

It’s 100% my favourite thing to do and I can’t imagine not being a kitchen person. However, I feel like I’ve grown up from being the person who’d buy a metre long slush puppy from the cinema and eat four cream cakes in five minutes (I admit this does occasionally still happen.) I still love my sweets and conjuring up my next indulgence. But most of the time, I’m pretty good with eating well.

Its fairly obvious that I have a raging sweet tooth. So eating well and avoiding cake at work on a regular basis is hard. The struggle is real! So recently I’ve been dabbling in the world of raw food and healthier food in general. I’ve become really interested in super foods and packing my meals with all sorts of grains, seeds, vitamins and more. (I’ve even been making my own Almond Milk guys, like… wow.) I no longer look at food and wonder how many calories is in it, I look and think about how nutritionally dense it is. I have no idea how long this will last but its been about 6 months now and I’m still feeling it.

I’ve been scouring pinterest for interesting energy bar type recipes to power me through the day and keep my cravings at bay. And I think I’ve found it. I want to send a big virtual hug to Sarah at My New Roots for this recipe.

I know that these little snacks are called ‘brownies’ but I want to tell you now, as you can see… these aren’t brownies. At all. But I can imagine that for someone living a raw lifestyle, these would be like heaven on a plate. Nothing can compare to a gooey warm brownie for me, but these babies definitely do the job when it comes to sweet chocolatey satisfaction with none of the guilt.

These are so easy to make and are a delicious snack throughout the day. They keep me full without bloating me and give me bags of energy. These are defiantly going to become a staple in my kitchen. What about yours?

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Gingerbread Pancakes with Almonds and Maple Roasted Pear

img_4275I had big plans for this post. I was going to blab about my recent trip to Iceland and post this finger licking recipe with it. However, after having a quick hour long peek gaze through my photos, I’ve realised how many photos I want to share and that it’s completely incomprehensible to put it all into one post. You’d probably fall asleep on your keyboard by the end. All the while thinking, where the f is this recipe?!

So to save those of you who’re here for the recipe, I’ll save my romantic Iceland babble about how I want to repeatedly travel there forever and ever and ever, for another post.

I’m sure a lot of you are pretty ecstatic that November has finally arrived. I adore Autumn. The coziness, the hot drinks, the shameless eating begins. I swear that my body just needs an extra layer of fat every year. This is why it craved a biscuit tin of 40 Bourbon biscuits… (you probably think I’m joking but the tin of biscuits next to me right now says otherwise.)

I’m having to show real restraint with christmas decorations this month. I can’t stop going into Oxford Street every week and staring at the same christmas decorations, revisiting the same shops I went into the week before. I desperately wanted to haul them up this week but my co-workers have repeatedly chimed that its way too early. I’ll wait one more week.

As the cold weather approaches, so do the spices, chutney, cheese, nuts and old music. There aren’t many breakfasts I can think of that scream autumn to me, but this one certainly does.

Whenever I go home to see my Mum, she makes me fluffy American blueberry pancakes. She uses a Jamie Oliver recipe and I love them so much I decided to tweak them a little to taste like gingerbread. Queue black treacle and ginger. Sprinkling flaked almonds on one side of the pancake adds a lovely note of nutty flavour and texture. A warm, sticky, sweet roasted pear permeated with maple syrup couldn’t be a better accompaniment to this gorgeous breakfast treat.

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Mocha Birthday Cake: Chocolate Chip Coffee Sponge, Dark Chocolate Ganache and Coffee Mascarpone Icing

IMG_3664I really believe that you should make the most of your birthday. Whether you’re 1 or 101, it should be a real celebration. I no longer do these one day birthdays, I need to eek it out for as long as possible. Preferably spanning a week; book a holiday, plan meals, research the birthday cake you’re going to bake for yourself months in advance…

It’s a day to eat whatever the hell you want, wear whatever the hell you want and say whatever you want because its your birthday.

Besides, you’ll only turn 22 once. This day only comes once a year so why not milk it for all its worth? You’ve waited 365 days for this.

I hope you’ve caught on by now and have realised, it was MY birthday. My celebrations consisted of a takeaway in my pyjamas, a massage, meals, a trip to the cinema and a four-day adventure to Iceland (more about that soon.)

It was only a week ago and I miss this cake already. I miss Iceland already. I spent a really long time debating what kind of route I wanted to take. I was torn between a simple apple cake or a really indulgent five layered chocolate cake. After what felt like days and days on Pinterest, I finally settled on this Mocha inspired number.

By putting chocolate chunks into a coffee sponge, I didn’t need to decide between a chocolate sponge or a vanilla one. I got the best of both worlds. A mascarpone icing is a great alternative to butter icing as it keeps the sweetness down. Layering the sponge with rich, silky, chocolate ganache was a no brainer and just needed to happen.

A voila! A twenty-two year old coffee addicts dream birthday cake.

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Blackberry, Orange and Chocolate Bread Pudding for one

IMG_3340One thing that really bothers me about living on my own, is buying food for one. I hate leftovers and, more than anything, I hate wasting food. I admit that some leftover meals are crazy delicious, like christmas leftover sandwiches or bubble and squeak, and they do have their place when it comes to time-saving. But eating a three-day old soggy lasagne just doesn’t do it for me.

One of my favourite things to buy is a crusty fresh loaf of bread from a local shop. I can’t think of many things more satisfying than the smell of a freshly baked loaf. Accompany some pungent ripe cheese with that and I’m yours. However, 9 times out of 10, I won’t eat all of it before it becomes stale beyond any saving. And this is with me eating it at every opportunity, trying to avoid this. Life seems to get in the way and this happens with a fair amount of food in my house.

I honestly think someone should create a supermarket for singles. Everything should come in single sized portions. I really don’t like eating the same meal over and over again, so buying a pack of six sausages means I have to eat sausages for three days in a row. All of the dishes I bake in on a day-to-day basis are single sized or two portion maximum, for this reason exactly.

So here I am, saving all you fellow single gals and guys out there from leftovers and throwing away old food; because you really can’t face the thought of another lacklustre pasta dish hanging around your fridge for days again.

Bread pudding uses up leftover milk, berries, croissants and anything else you feel like throwing in there. Make this what you want. It’s all about taking out what I’ve put in and changing it for what tickles your fancy. Nothing screams Autumn like a steaming dish of hot, creamy bread pudding just for you.

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