Month: August 2015

Always trust your instincts.

I am, by nature, a fairly positive and hopeful person. I don’t like negativity, especially on social media: it is too easy to moan, complain, bitch or shame. I am all about supporting one another and championing folk who are doing a great job. I think it’s really important to encourage people who are just learning. I think people should be given credit and recognition when its due. I hope that comes across on my Facebook page and my Instagram and Twitter accounts. But this morning I am in danger of coming across as a complainer. I have one thing that bugs me tremendously when it come to cooking and baking. Well, I have two things (but I am not going to bang on about pretentious, head up their arse foodie types here). What really bugs me are badly written recipes. More specifically, poorly written instructions and advice on recipes. I had one such experience this weekend. I am, of course, referring to the finished cake above. And it looks nice enough now in the …

…and then you add some more butter.

  Do you like Brioche? Do you like its buttery, rich yet light, texture in your mouth? Is it possible to improve upon Brioche? Yes, it is! And the answer is to add more butter. It doesn’t seem possible. What is more, it seems unlikely that by adding even more butter to this already rich *and* enriched dough you can make it lighter. The trick is doing it in layers, or laminating. Brioche Feuilletée is made using the same method as croissant or Danish pastry dough, or puff pastry: the dough is rolled out, folded, then chilled several times, until many layers, sheets, leaves or feuilles of alternating thin dough and butter are created. I made Brioche Feuilletée last weekend for the first time and I decided to document the process in several photographs that I would like to share with you now. Having used Michel Roux’s Brioche recipe before, and been very happy with the results, I decided to start there. This recipe makes 1.2kg (actually more than I needed) and I made it the …

Blondes do have more fun.

I think it was a few weeks ago when I first heard about Valrhona’s Blond Dulcey chocolate. Somebody on Instagram was talking about it; raving about its deep and sweet caramel notes. Having used Valrhona’s Caramelia chocolate in a few bakes (and nibbled a few morsels along the way) I was intrigued. Like all Valrhona chocolate, it does not come cheap, and I kept putting off ordering it and trying it out. Then I saw a couple of stunning creations on Instagram that were made with Dulcey and illustrated the rich colour of this confection. The images screamed “eat me!” So I bit the bullet and ordered a 250g bar. I knew what I wanted to make with this caramelised white chocolate in order to test its taste and its qualities in a simple form, and that was to make a ganache. And not in or on a cake but between two macarons. Macarons are the perfect carriage for ganache, creams and sweet butters. I was expecting the ganache to be very sweet (and I …

Slutty Nutty Brownies

Yes, you heard me. Slutty. Nutty. Brownies. I think it’s kinda catchy. And naughty. But the recipe was created for a dear friend of mine who is neither slutty nor nutty. Actually, she is a *wee* bit naughty. But Salted Caramel is her passion (as well as her three fabulous kids, Northern Soul and accessories.) She is also know for her occasional indulgence in Reese’s Pieces. She recently invited my three kids and I to stay at her house for the weekend. We hadn’t seen each other in twenty years and the two sets of kids had never even met. Yet, we had a throughly enjoyable weekend of catching up and getting to know each other; drinking lovely wine and eating great food; and rummaging at the biggest car boot sale I’ve ever seen. When we left, it felt as though the weekend hadn’t been long enough, but we were so very glad of the time we had spent together. Needless to say, I wished to express my thanks to her and her partner for …