Chicken Tinga Tostadas

2015-05-29 21.03.49

Delicious chicken in a subtly spiced sauce on crisp corn tostadas, served with soured cream, lettuce and cheese – I don’t think you can get much better in my opinion!

If you follow my blog, you’ll know a couple of things about me; I am going through a Mexican food phase and fajitas are a staple in my house. My boyfriend, Rien, is obsessed with fajitas and would eat them everyday if he could. I am unashamed to say that I use a spice mix to make it a very quick and easy dinner for during the week.

I wasn’t holding out high hopes for his opinion of these Chicken Tinga Tostadas because of how much he loves the usual fajitas I make and I wasn’t sure if anything could compete with them. Once I’d made these tostadas, I was extremely happy with them as they tasted even better than I thought they would. I sat there waiting for Rien’s verdict and finally he said he thought they were delicious and even better than his beloved fajitas! Now to anyone else, this may not sound like much of a compliment; he thought the Chicken Tinga Tostadas were better than using a fajitas spice mix, wouldn’t that be obvious? Well no, not with Rien. He has a lot of positives, but he has quite simple tastes when it comes to food, bless him. He hadn’t heard of Camembert before we started dating and I’m pretty sure he hadn’t heard of a fig, let alone tried one. I am by no means adventurous with food as I am so fussy, but I have managed to introduce him to quite a few new foods; even if his favourite meal is still chicken and chips!

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I got this recipe from ‘Mexican The Cookbook by Margarita Carrillo Arrote’ which is crammed with hundreds of authentic Mexican recipes. I’d heard of Chicken Tinga before and thought it sounded tasty so wanted to try this recipe. On a trip to Borough Market I went to the Cool Chile Company stall and stocked up on dried chillies and tostadas. I love this stall and stock up each time I go to Borough Market – or recently when Rien was in London for work, he picked me up some tostadas on the way home (I told you he had many positives!)

I’m sure you can get the ingredients in other places, for example I’ve seen dried chillies in supermarkets now. I am still yet to see tostadas in supermarkets, but they do sell mini tortillas. Although they tend to be made from wheat instead of corn, you could try toasting them slightly. They wouldn’t get as crisp as tostadas do and would be more like tacos, but they would still be as delicious so don’t let not being able to find tostadas put you off!

The original recipe used a whole chicken, but that would make an awful lot of Chicken Tinga, so instead I like to use two chicken breasts. This is enough for two people as a dinner and could be enough for 4-6 people as a starter. These tostadas do obviously take longer than cheats fajitas, but they taste amazing – definitely worth spending the extra time and effort. This is one of my favourite dishes at the moment.

I love all of the different flavours in this recipe without it being too hot. I used to think that if a recipe had chillies in it, then it would be really hot. Although some can obviously pack a punch, the chillies in this recipe add a great smoky flavour with only a slight warmth. Feel free to add a little bit more of the chillies in adobo sauce if you do want it a little spicier, or go easy with it if you prefer things really mild.

Make sure you read the whole recipe and make sure you have the ingredients before you start.

For the chicken
½ onion

2 chicken breasts
2 cloves garlic
1 bay leaf
1 sprig thyme
1 sprig rosemary
1 tsp sea salt

  1. Fill a medium pan with water and add the chicken, onion, garlic, bay leaf, thyme, rosemary and salt to the pan

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  1. Bring to the boil and then reduce to a simmer for 20-25 minutes until the chicken is cooked through
  2. Remove the pan from the heat and take the chicken out of the pan. Set the chicken aside and make sure you keep the cooking liquid

For the tinga sauce
3 large tomatoes

1 dried chipotle chiles, soaked and drained
1 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp diced chorizo
1 onion
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 bay leaves
2 thyme sprigs 
1 tbsp chipotle chilies in adobo sauce
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp dried oregano
½ tsp sea salt
Pack of tostadas

  1. While you are waiting for the chicken to cool, make the tinga sauce. Preheat the oven to 200ºC and roast the tomatoes for 30 minutes
  2. Put the dried chili into a mug and cover completely with boiling water and allow to soak for 15 minutes

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  1. Once roasted and cooked, add the tomatoes, dried chili and garlic into a food processor and blitz until smooth. Strain the mixture into a bowl, discarding any skin and seeds, and set aside

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  1. Heat the oil in a pan and add the chorizo, cooking over a low heat for five minutes

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  1. Add the onion and continue to cook for another 8 minutes until lightly browned
  2. Shred the chicken
  3. Add the garlic, tomato and chipotle mixture, bay leaves, thyme, oregano, salt and chipotles in adobo to the pan. Stir occasionally until the sauce has thickened
  4. Add the shredded chicken and approximately 150ml of the reserved poaching liquid and sugar. Cook for another 10 minutes until the sugar has dissolved and the chicken is warmed through

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To finish
Soured cream
Shredded lettuce
Feta cheese (or cheddar if that’s all you have)

  1. Heat the tostadas for a couple of minutes on each side in a pan or in the oven. Spread each tostada with soured cream and then top with the chicken mixture. To finish, add shredded lettuce and crumble with feta

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Gin Drizzle Cake

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Think lemon drizzle cake, but with added gin. Yes, it is as good as it sounds, and yes this cake is just for adults!

There have been a few articles in the news recently that gin actually has health benefits such as helps reduce wrinkles, fight cancer and is low in calories so is good for your waistline. I came across the recipe for this cake and although I never need an excuse for a little gin, I thought this was the perfect opportunity.

This recipe is slightly different to usual cake recipes because it doesn’t have set weights for each ingredient. The weight of the eggs dictates the weight of the sugar, butter and flour so each cake will be slightly different. As it could be slightly different each time it is important to check the cake with a cocktail stick to make sure it is baked.

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I’ve made this cake a couple of times now; once for a family BBQ and another time when my Uni friends came to stay. Everyone has enjoyed it so far, although my Uni friends did find it a little strong at first. I think this was partly due to them wanting to eat it as soon as I had poured the drizzle on. When they had some more the following day, the gin had had time to seep into the cake so the flavour wasn’t as stong.

The recipe is from Truly Madly Kids. In the original recipe, they keep the cake in the tin when pouring the drizzle on. This would help keep all of the drizzle in the cake and not dripping off, but I was worried this would make the cake too saturated. Take your pick at which method you would like to try.

For the cake
4 medium eggs – weigh with their shells on
Caster sugar – the same weight as the eggs
butter – the same weight as the eggs
Self raising flour – the same weight as the eggs
Zest of 2 lemons
Juice of 1 lemon
90ml gin

  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC and line a 1kg loaf tin
  2. Cream together the sugar and the butter until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs and beat on a high speed
  3. Add the flour and lemon zest and mix again until smooth. Add the gin and lemon juice and mix again

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  1. Pour the mix into the loaf tin and bake until a skewer comes out clean – test it after about 35-40 minutes. Mine took roughly 50 minutes

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  1. Allow the cake to cool for a few minutes before removing it from the tin and leaving it to cool completely on a wire rack

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For the drizzle
110ml gin
150g granulated sugar
Juice of 1 lemon

  1. Mix the gin, lemon juice together, I do this in a jug so it is easier to pour over the cake

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  1. Make holes in the cake with a skewer. Keeping the cake on the wire rack, but a baking try underneath the rack to catch any drizzle that doesn’t soak into the cake

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  1. Slowly pour the drizzle mixture over the cake

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The second time I made this cake, the sugar hardened on top a bit more so was more visible which I thought looked quite nice. Not quite sure why it did this time but not the first time!

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Gym Bunny Mummy
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Fig, Prosciutto and Rocket Salad

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I am obsessed with figs. Not only are they delicious, they are really pretty too. At this time of year they seem to be everywhere which is great so I can enjoy them whilst they are in season.

Most people may associate figs with sweet dishes, like my Honey, Fig and Mascarpone Cupcakes. However figs go really well as part of a savoury dish and add a great sweetness. This salad makes a lovely starter or light lunch and is really healthy.

This salad is really simple and quick to whip up. I first made this just for myself thinking it wouldn’t be Rien’s kind of thing. He had a little bit to give it a try and really liked it so ended up eating half of it! In the week since I made it, he has kept asking when I am going to make it again because he loved it.

I decided to use Prosciutto, but feel free to use Parma or Serano ham instead. – just use whichever cured ham you fancy. With the dressing, you can either use balsamic vinegar or balsamic vinegar glaze. This recipe is definitely not set in stone, the quantities below are just a guide so if you want more of one ingredient, go for it.

Serves 2 
1 bag of rocket 
3 – 4 figs 
4 slices of Prosciutto
20g Parmesan
Drizzle of balsamic vinegar or balsamic vinegar glaze  

  1. Rinse the rocket if it hasn’t already been washed and scatter over your serving plate or bowl
  2. Cut the figs into quarters or sixths depending on how big they are and add them to the rocket
  3. Drape slices of Prosciutto over the plate
  4. Grate the Parmesan over the salad with a vegetable peeler so you get curls of cheese
  5. Drizzle the salad with balsamic vinegar

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Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

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Moist cake with smooth cream cheese frosting, a true British Classic cake.

Carrot cake is hands down the most popular type of cake that I make. I’ve been making carrot cupcakes for ages now, but sometimes you just want a lovely big cake. I have made some very small changes to the recipe to adapt it to make a cake instead of cupcakes. This mix is perfect for making a two or three layer cake.

It is no secret that I really don’t like making carrot cake. The only reason for this is I really don’t like grating carrots (yes I realise that sounds lazy). However, as I am still borrowing (holding hostage) my Mum’s MagiMix, I used the grater attachment. Oh my goodness, I need to get myself a MagiMix! It made grating the carrots an absolute breeze, but not only that the carrot was quite a coarse grate which added a lovely texture to the cake. I should mention that I’m not being asked to rave about MagiMix’s in my last few blog posts, I am just genuinely excited by how great they are.

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I had big plans of how I was going to pipe little carrots onto this cake, but as you can see that never happened. As with most of my weekends I start off wanting to do loads of things and then realise weekends aren’t as long as I wish they were. So I decided to go with a simple decoration of bronze crunch around the edges.

I can’t believe GBBO is finished! At the beginning, I didn’t think I was going to be able to bake along until the end as I thought I would have either moved house or had everything packed ready to move. I am very pleased that Nadiya won and along with half of the UK, I teared up a little bit!

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For the cake:
150g light brown sugar
150g dark brown sugar
3 free range medium eggs
300ml sunflower oil
300g plain flour
1tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp (heaped) cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
300g grated carrot

  1. Preheat the oven to 170ºC and line two or three 8 inch cake tins
  2. Mix together the sugar, eggs, oil and vanilla extract. Before adding the sugar to the rest of the ingredients, try to break up any large lumps in the sugar
  3. In another bowl, mix the flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt together
  4. Gradually add the wet mix to the dry mix stirring as you go
  5. Add the carrots and keep stirring until thoroughly mixed

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  1. Split the mix between the prepared cake tins and smooth. Bake in the oven for 30 – 35 minutes if you are using two tins or 20- – 25 minutes. Use a cocktail stick to test the cake, it is cooked when the stick comes out clean

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  1. Allow to cool slightly in the tins before turning out and allowing to cool completely on a wire rack before frosting

For the frosting:
75g unsalted butter
450g icing sugar
185g full fat cream cheese

  1. Make sure the butter is at room temperature. Beat it until it is softened

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  1. Add the icing sugar and beat until combined before adding the cream cheese. Mix until combined

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  1. Place one of the cakes upside down on your serving plate and put half of the frosting if you’ve made a two layer cake or one third if you’ve made three layers on top and spread out evenly

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  1. For the top layer, place it on top the right way up and smooth the remaining frosting

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Mummy Mishaps

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Ravioli Lasagne

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Rich bolognese packed with layers of tasty ravioli and melted cheese. Such a deliciously comforting dish with approximately 500 calories per portion makes it a healthier option without compromising on the taste.

This recipe was heavily influenced by a recipe my Mum made a few times when I was growing up. All I could remember was the recipe used ravioli instead of lasagne and had a bolognese style sauce. I’m pretty sure it had some form of white sauce as you would usually expect from a lasagne too but I can’t be sure. Instead of asking my Mum to hunt around for the recipe, I thought I would take elements of it and make my version of it. This also meant I could try and keep an eye on the calories in it too!

We have become a little bit too relaxed with healthy eating in my house recently so we decided enough was enough and are back on track trying to watch what we eat a bit more. This doesn’t mean I won’t have treats, but where I can I’ll try and make things a bit healthier.

This recipe is an example of this as I have used lean beef mince – although it won’t make a massive difference, every little helps! I’ve also used parmesan cheese and half – fat mozzarella. With parmesan, a small amount goes quite a long way and although the mozarella like all low-fat cheese options may not melt as seductively as normal cheese, it still tastes great and doesn’t make you feel as guilty! Obviously you do not need to use the low fat options, but in my opinion there really is no reason not to.

As well as making a very tasty dinner, we had plenty of leftovers for lunches which was equally as tasty. What this recipe lacks in prettiness, it definitely makes up for in flavour!

500g lean mince beef
1 onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 carrots, diced
2 sticks of celery, diced
2 tbsp tomato puree
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
½ tsp mustard powder
½ tsp dried thyme
½ tsp dried oregano
½ tsp rosemary, chopped
½ tsp pepper
1 ½ tsp salt
1 tin of plum tomatoes
2 Oxo beef cubes
Spray oil
400g ravioli – I used beef and wine ravioli
225g half fat mozzarella
40g parmesan

  1. Put a pan on a medium heat and spray with oil. Once hot, add the onion and garlic and cook for a couple of minutes until the onion starts to soften and go translucent, but not brown

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  1. Add the mince and using a wooden spoon, break the mince up into small pieces so you don’t get big lumps. Stir until all the meat is browned
  2. Once browned, add the celery and carrot. Add the tomato puree and stir before adding the herbs, Worcestershire sauce, mustard powder, salt and pepper

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  1. Add the tinned tomatoes and then fill the empty tin with water from a recently boiled kettle – be careful as the tin will be hot, add it to the pan and stir
  2. Crumble in the Oxo cubes and let is simmer for a minimum of 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. You can leave it on a low heat to blip away for a few hours, just make sure you add some more water if it starts looking dry

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  1. The liquid should have reduced so that it coats the meat but isn’t too wet – you don’t want too much liquid as it will be too wet when you bake it

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  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC while you assemble the lasagne
  2. Using a large oven proof dish, layer the base with half of the ravioli and then cover with half of the meat mixture

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  1. Sprinkle half of the mozzarella and parmesan over the meat and pasta and then repeat using up the rest of the ingredients

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  1. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes until the cheese is melted

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  1. Serve with a side salad or whatever else you fancy

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Milk Chocolate Tart

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Crisp shortcrust pastry filled with rich, soft and deliciously smooth chocolate. This tart is chocolate heaven!

This week was chocolate week on GBBO; always a good week in my opinion. The contestant’s made chocolate tarts, chocolate souffle and a chocolate sculpture. If you follow my blog you’ll know by now that I wasn’t ever going to attempt a chocolate sculpture and a souffle seemed too scary; so a tart it was!

My tart experience is extremely low. Last year when I was baking along to the Bake Off, I made a savoury tart and that was my first. Baking along this year has meant I have made my second tart! I would like to get more practice with tarts and pastry in general. As you can see from my photos, my pastry isn’t the neatest but I suppose that will improve with practice.

I had a look through some recipes and decided that I wanted to have a go at a milk chocolate tart with normal shortcrust pastry. On the show, most of the contestants used chocolate shortcrust pastry and mentioned that it was harder to work with so I thought I would keep it as simple as I could and find a recipe using normal shortcrust pastry. The recipe I found was by Andy Bates on the Food Network UK website ( I only realised while I was writing up this recipe that there was a video as well as instructions (my iPad didn’t want to share this with me!). After watching the video, I think mine turned out quite well in comparison. I was pleased to see that his pastry was quite crumbly too – my crust in particular proved tricky to hold together when cutting.

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The recipe requires a 28cm tart tin, however mine was roughly 24cm and not quite the 4cm deep required. I had pastry and chocolate filing left over, so I made two mini tarts too. I used the same method and timings all the way through until when I baked them with the filling, the small tarts only needed 25 minutes.

My Mum has kindly lent me her food processor which her Mum bought for her years ago (possibly over 25 years ago). Since borrowing it I have used it when making chutney, buttercream and the pastry for this recipe. I thought using my K-Mix to make buttercream was fast but the MagiMix was something else – silky smooth buttercream in seconds! Making this pastry was also a breeze – add all the ingredients and pulse a few times and you’re done. I’ll definitely be adding one to my Christmas list!

The tart is very rich so I recommend a small slice. If you’re feeling really extravagant, you could serve the tart with some cream or ice cream. The chocolate filling is so soft and smooth it really does melt in your mouth.

For the shortcrust pastry
225g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
75g icing sugar
Pinch of salt
150g butter
1 egg
1 egg yolk

By hand

  1. For the pastry, mix together the flour and sugar. Add the salt and butter and rub together with your fingertips until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs
  2. Beat together the egg yolk and whole egg and gradually add these at the same time as bringing the dough together until a ball forms
  3. Wrap the dough in cling film and allow to chill in the fridge for at least half an hour

Using a food processor

  1. Add all of the ingredients and pulse until the mixture forms a ball of dough

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  1. Wrap the dough in cling film and allow to chill in the fridge for at least half an hour
  2. Preheat the oven to 160ºC
  3. Lightly flour the surface and roll out the pastry to a thickness of 2mm

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  1. Carefully line the tart tin (28cm) cutting off most of the excess, I leave a small amount hanging over to allow for any shrinkage during cooking

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  1. Put the tart tin on a baking tray and allow to cool in the fridge for 20 minutes
  2. Line the tart tin with greaseproof paper and fill with baking beans. Make sure you get them as close to the edges of the tin as possible as this will help the pastry keep its shape. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes

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  1. Remove the greaseproof paper and baking beans and return to the oven for 5-8 minutes until the pastry starts to tun golden brown

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  1. Using a sharp knife, cut off the overhanging pastry

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  1. Turn the oven down to 140ºC

For the filling
450ml single cream
600g milk chocolate (over 35% cocoa)
150ml whole milk
3 eggs

  1. Break the chocolate into pieces in a large bowl

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  1. Bring the milk and cream to the boil and then pour over the chocolate. Stir until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is combined. It will look a little messy at first but keep stirring and it will come together

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  1. Allow the chocolate mixture to cool for 5 minutes and then add the beaten eggs. Stir until the eggs are completely combined

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  1. Fill the tart with the chocolate filling. Carefully put the tart in the middle of the oven to bake for 30 – 40 minutes or until the filling looks set but has a slight wobble when shook

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  1. Allow the tart to cool to room temperature before serving

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Chocolate Éclairs

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Crisp, airy pastry filled with vanilla cream covered in delicious chocolate. Éclairs are fantastically indulgent and one of my favourite treats.

I love éclairs – fresh cream and chocolate can never be a bad thing. The choux pastry acts a tasty shell for the softly whipped cream and is then smothered with melted chocolate. I was inspired to make these by GBBO, however I was definitely not even slightly tempted to make a structure out of them like the contestants did! I haven’t baked along for a couple of weeks now due to being on holiday for pastry week and then just not being interested in Victorian baking. So when I realised éclairs were on the show, I knew I coudn’t give them a miss.

I’ve only made choux pastry once before when I was in my third year of uni. Don’t all third year uni students spend their evenings baking? It was my friend’s birthday and I can’t remember if I asked her what she would like me to make her, or whether I just remembered her telling me her Nan usually makes her profiteroles. Anyway, I decided to make profiteroles for her. Unfortunately there is no photographic evidence of the profiteroles, but I do remember them being huge, much more like choux buns. She did say they were very tasty though, but she is so lovely she could have just been being polite!

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So four years later, I decided it was time to give choux pastry another go. I chose Paul Hollywood’s recipe because I thought it was a safe bet ( I was really chuffed with how they turned out! The only thing I will change next time is to put slightly more pressure on the piping bag as I’m piping the dough as this creates a slightly fatter éclair. Some of the first one’s I piped were a little thin as I didn’t put much pressure on the piping bag. They still looked good, but they didn’t have as much room inside for the cream! So a nice thick éclair means more room for cream!

I took these to my friend’s house who was holding an Afternoon Tea as a baby shower for another of our friends. The éclairs went down very well, someone said they were exactly like shop bought éclairs. Rien said they tasted even better than éclairs you can buy in shops – very unlike him to give such a nice compliment unprompted!

For the choux pastry
65g plain flour
pinch of salt
50g unsalted butter
2 eggs

  1. Preheat the oven to 200ºC and line a baking tray with baking parchment
  2. Put 120ml of water into a medium sized pan along with the salt and butter. Heat gently until the butter melts making sure you do not let the water boil

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  1. Once the butter has melted, quickly bring the mixture to the boil and then add the flour. Remove the pan from the heat and beat furiously with a wooden spoon until it comes together in a smooth dough

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  1. Put the pan back on a low heat and beat for a minute to slightly cook the dough, it should come away from the sides of the pan and become smooth and glossy
  2. Tip into a bowl to cool until it is only slightly warm

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  1. Beat the eggs and then gradually add them to the dough and mix. Keep adding the egg until the dough falls off a spoon when lightly shaken
  2. Spoon the dough into a piping bag with a 1.25cm plain nozzle. Pipe 12, 10cm lengths onto the baking tray

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  1. Sprinkle the tray, not the dough, with a few drops of water and bake in the oven for 15 minutes
  2. Without opening the oven, reduce the oven to 170ºC and bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown and crisp
  3. Take the tray out of the oven and make a small hole in the side of each éclair with a skewer to allow the steam to escape. Put them back in the oven for 5 minutes

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  1. Allow the éclairs to cool completely on a wire rack

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For the filling
200ml whipping cream
5 tsp icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

  1. Whip the cream with the sugar and vanilla until soft peaks form

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  1. Carefully cut down the side of each éclair and pipe in the whipped cream

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For the topping
100g milk chocolate

  1. Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water – make sure the water doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl
  2. Spoon chocolate in a strip over each éclair. Allow the chocolate to set before serving

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Roasted New Potatoes

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Crispy skinned new potatoes which are fluffy inside flavoured with herbs make the perfect side dish for any meal.

New potatoes have always been my least favourite type of potato because to be honest I find them a bit boring. We used to have them quite a lot , especially in the summer, when I was a child and although they are nice for a change, it felt like we had them for every meal (I may be exaggerating slightly).

My preferred way of eating new potatoes is to roast them with herbs as the skin turns nice and crispy but they’re still fluffy inside. I almost feel a little bit cheeky calling this a recipe because it is so simple, it is more like assembling rather than an actual recipe! This way gives them a lot more flavour in my opinion than just boiling them in salted water. They are really simple to prepare this way, but I think it makes them look like you’ve put a bit more effort in.

I was lucky enough to be given these potatoes by Rien’s Nan who had grown them in her garden. She was so excited when I said I’d like them because I don’t think the rest of the family tend to use them. I think things like vegetables are always that little bit tastier when they have been home grown for some reason.

You can use whatever herbs you would like. I like to use a combination of thyme and rosemary because these are two of my favourite herbs, but often just use one of the other depending what I have. There is no need to pick the leaves off the stalks as during cooking, the leaves seem to fall off themselves. This then makes it really easy to just pick out the stems once the potatoes are finished cooking.

The below amount should be enough for four people as a side dish.

500g new potatoes
1 tbsp olive oil
1 ½ tsp sea salt
A few sprigs of the herbs of your choice

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Thoroughly wash the potatoes and remove any black bits

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  1. Drizzle some of the olive oil into a roasting tin. Add the potatoes, cutting any large ones in half to make the potatoes roughly the same size
  2. Drizzle over the rest of the olive oil before sprinkling over the salt and adding the herbs

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  1. Roast in the oven for 25 – 30 minutes, turning the potatoes half way through the time, until the potatoes are crispy on the outside but cooked through; I check this by poking them with a sharp knife. Remove the herb stalks and serve
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Sugar-free Lemon Cake


Week 5 of the Great British Bake Off was Free From week. The challenges included sugar free cakes, gluten free pitta breads and then dairy free ice cream rolls. I have had a go at making gluten free bread before; albeit with gluten free flour and not the powder they were using on the show, so I decided to have a go at making a sugar free cake.

I was trying to get ahead so searched for my sugar free cake recipe and bought my ingredients before the show aired. The recipe I found was for a sugar free lemon drizzle cake and used a plant based sugar substitute called Xylitol. The contestants on the show used honey, agave syrup and fruits to sweeten their cakes so were slightly different to mine. Not all of their cakes were successful, some were too moist and a couple weren’t sweet enough. I was pleased I’d used the Xylitol as the cake turned out really well and was sweet enough.

Xylitol has less calories than normal sugar and is therefore healthier, but it is quite pricey! Don’t get me wrong it is by no means extortionate (£2.70 for 225g), but when you compare it to normal sugar it is quite a bit more expensive. The original recipe was for a lemon drizzle cake, but for two reasons I didn’t add the drizzle. I’ve never been a fan of the drizzle as I don’t like the crunchy sugar, but for this recipe I needed a whole pack of the sugar for the cake, and then 50g extra for the drizzle. I didn’t want to buy another pack to just use a little bit and then for the rest to sit in my cupboard for years. So that sounded like a good enough reason to keep the cake drizzle free to me.

225g self raising flour
½ tsp baking powder
225g xylitol
2 lemons, zest only
2 large eggs
125ml sunflower oil
1 tbsp milk
200g 0% fat yogurt

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan). Line and grease a 2kg loaf tin with baking parchment
  2. Mix the flour, baking powder, Xylitol and lemon zest together in a bowl

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  1. In a separate bowl or jug, whisk together the eggs, sunflower oil, milk and yogurt. Once mixed, add the wet mixture to the flour and mix until fully combined

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  1. Pour the mix into the tin and smooth the surface if needed and bake for 1 – 1 hour 10 mins. Check the cake after 50 minutes and if it is getting too dark, cover it loosely with foil

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  1. Let the cake cool slightly in the tin before turning out and allowing to cool completely on a wire rack

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The original recipe can be found here –

Head to to check out the rest of the #GreatBloggersBake2015 entries.

Mummy Mishaps
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Summer Berries & Mascarpone Cake

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Light and fluffy sponge cake with delicious fresh summer berries and smooth mascarpone; the perfect cake for a summer afternoon.

My sister asked me if I could make a cake for a colleague’s birthday quite last minute. When people know you make cakes, they seem to sometimes think you do nothing else so their last minute cake request isn’t a problem. I do love baking and hate to turn people away, especially family, so I squeezed this in around the wedding taster cupcakes I was making.

My sister said she was ideally looking for a cake with fruit, so with that and knowing she doesn’t like cream or buttercream, I came up with this cake. I was very pleased with how the cake turned out and it went down extremely well and I even received my first thank you note which was incredibly kind.

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I split the batter into three tins but you can always just use two if you’d prefer. You can also use vanilla extract if you don’t have vanilla bean paste but I really like the specks of black throughout the sponge because then you know vanilla is in the cake.

For the cake
225g caster sugar
225g butter or margarine 
4 eggs
225g self raising flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp vanilla bean paste 

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C and line 3 8inch sandwich tins
  2. Beat the sugar and butter together until pale and fluffy. Then add the eggs one at a time, mixing between each before adding the vanilla bean paste
  3. Add the flour and baking powder and mix until completely combined and then divide into the tins

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  1. Put in the oven for 17-20 minutes until a cocktail stick comes out clean. Allow to cool for a few minutes in the tins before turning out and allowing to cool completely on a wire rack

For the filling
400g strawberries
300g raspberries
200g blueberries
200g mascarpone
200ml fromage frais
½ tsp vanilla bean paste

  1. Wash all of the fruit then hull and slice the strawberries
  2. Beat the mascaropone, fromage frais and vanilla until smooth and velvety

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  1. Place one of the cake layers on your cake board or plate so that what was the top is now the bottom. Spoon a third of the mascarpone mix and spread out to cover the cake. Arrange a layer of the fruit and then repeat with the next two layers of cake

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The lady that the cake was for wrote my a lovely card to say thank you for making her the cake which made my day!

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