Soda Bread

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Crusty bread that you can be tucking into in just over an hour – what could be better?

Week 3 of The Great British Bake Off was Bread week and the bakes were quick breads, baguettes and bread sculptures. I definitely didn’t need to bake enough bread to open my own bakery so the bread sculpture wasn’t going to happen. I was tempted by the baguettes but they sound a little tricky and time consuming they would need to wait for another time when I was less busy. I had been wanting to make Soda Bread since Rien bought me Paul Hollywood’s ‘Bread’ book for my birthday. I had gone to make it a few times and then realised I needed buttermilk and didn’t have any so decided to make something else instead.

So finally I was going to actually get round to making soda bread. I rushed into Waitrose on my way home to find an empty shelf where the buttermilk was meant to be! A lovely lady went and had a look out the back to see if they had anymore and what must have been about 5 minutes later, back she came with some. I definitely learnt my lesson to buy my ingredients before Bake Off airs! Although you can make your own buttermilk by adding 1 tbsp of lemon juice to 1 cup of milk and letting it sit for 10 minutes; I thought I better use the real deal for my first attempt at soda bread!

From watching the show, I learnt that you need to be gentle and handle the dough as little as possible. So don’t go crazy and start kneading the dough like you would when making other types of bread. It is also what makes it the easiest bread I have made because it is so simple and quick.

I was very pleased with how the bread turned out, but as it is best eaten on the day it is baked I took some of it into work the next day (I thought seeing as it came out of the oven around 9pm, the following morning counted as the same day!). They were all very grateful and complimentary – one of my colleagues even said it was divine! It was good to know it actually tasted like it should because I’ve never eaten soda bread  before.

250g plain wholemeal flour
250g plain white flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp salt
420ml buttermilk 

  1. Put both of the flours into a large bowl along with the bicarbonate of soda and salt and mix together
  2. Add the buttermilk and mix using a wooden spoon or your hand to form a sticky dough
  3. Lightly flour the work surface and tip the dough out onto it. Gently roll and fold the dough to bring it together making sure you don’t knead it

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  1. Shape the dough into a ball by turning it around on the surface between your cupped hands and then flatten it gently with your hand

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  1. Place the loaf on a baking tray lined with baking paper and then dust the dough with white flour. Using a large knife, score the loaf deeply, dividing it into quarters. Open the scores slightly to allow the heat to get into the centre

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  1. Set the loaf aside for 30 minutes to allow the bicarbonate of soda to work. In the mean time, heat your oven to 200ºC. If you are in a rush (or just don’t want to wait!), you can bake the loaf as soon as the oven is hot
  2. Bake the loaf on the middle shelf of the oven for 30 minutes or until the crust is golden brown on top and pale brown at the base of the cross. The bread should sound hollow when tapped at the bottom

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  1. Allow the loaf to cool completely on a wire rack. It is best eaten on the day it is made but can keep for a day or so if needed

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Make sure you check out the rest of the Bloggers baking along as part of the #GBBOBloggers2015 by visiting www.mummymishaps.co.uk

Mummy Mishaps
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Mexican Sweetcorn Salad

2015-08-02 19.50.35  Slightly charred sweetcorn with a slight chilli kick and freshness from the lime juice. This makes a perfect side dish for all Mexican food and is so easy and tasty.

If you follow my blog regularly, you’ll know a couple of things about me; I’m quite fussy and I love Mexican food. I was looking for a sweetcorn side dish and this recipe caught my eye on Pinterest. As with a lot of recipes, I had to make a few adjustments like leaving out the coriander and red onion (I can’t stand coriander and don’t like raw onions – see I told you I was fussy!) After adapting the ingredients it left a fantastic side dish using one of my favourite ingredients – sweetcorn!

When I was younger, like all children I often fancied a snack when I came home from school. One of my favourite things to eat was sweetcorn straight from the tin. My love for sweetcorn is quite specific though – it has to be tinned and it has to be with added salt and sugar. Frozen sweetcorn just doesn’t cut it and although I do occasionally have corn on the cob in restaurants I like, more often than not I don’t.

This recipe has quickly become one of our favourites. As there are only two of us, I started off by making half the amount but I quickly started making the full amount so that there are left overs but more often than not we have to stop ourselves demolishing the whole lot!

680g sweetcorn (2 large tins)
2 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp mayonnaise
2 tbsp lime juice
1 garlic clove, minced
½ tsp chilli powder
salt and pepper to taste
feta cheese to sprinkle on top

  1. Heat the oil in a pan over a medium heat. Add the sweetcorn and let it cook until it starts to char making sure you stir it occasionally

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  1. In a bowl mix together the mayonnaise, lime juice, garlic, chilli powder, salt and pepper
  2. When the sweetcorn is nicely charred, let is cool for a couple of minutes before adding to the mayonnaise mix
  3. Keep any leftovers in the fridge for a couple of days

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Fruity Biscotti

Cat Biscotti 1 copy

Photo by Betty

Crunchy biscuits packed with fruits and nuts with a subtle hint of spice, perfect dipped in a cup of coffee.

Week 2 of GBBO is biscuit week! As with most things, I am quite fussy when it comes to biscuits. I will never be the person getting exited over a bourbon! The one biscuit I cannot resist is a chocolate caramel digestive biscuit which is strange as I’m not usually a fan of caramel. It is just not safe if they’re in the house because I do find myself eating more than I should!

The three bakes were Biscotti, Arlettes and a 3D box made of biscuits, filled with biscuits. For Christmas last year I made Fruity Biscotti as part of my Chistmas Menu but never got round to blogging about them so now was the perfect opportunity! After looking at a number of recipes I decided to make this one by Good Food because of how many different fruits and nuts were in it and it went down very well. The original recipe can be found here http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/8022/fruity-christmas-biscotti

One of the great things about biscotti is that you can make a batch and keep it in a airtight container for up to a month. This makes it perfect to make ahead and bring out at family occasions – particularly Christmas. They also make really lovely gifts put in cellophane bags and tied with ribbon.

350g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp mixed spice
250g caster sugar
3 eggs, beaten
grated zest of 1 orange
85g raisins
85g dried cherries
50g blanched almonds
50g shelled pistachios

  1. Heat oven to 180ºC (fan 160ºC) and line 2 baking sheets with baking paper. Mix the flour, baking powder, mixed spice and sugar together in a large bowl. Stir in the eggs and orange zest until it starts to form clumps. Bring the dough together with your hands – don’t worry it will be dry at first but keep kneading until there are no floury patches left in the bottom of the bowl
  2. Add the fruit and nuts and knead them into the dough making sure they are evenly distributed
  3. Lightly flour your surface and tip the dough out onto it. Divide the dough into 4 pieces and then roll each piece into a sausage approximately 30cm long. Put 2 ‘sausages’ on each tray making sure they are well apart
  4. Bake for 25-30 mins until the dough has risen and feels firm to the touch, it should still be pale at this stage. Transfer onto a wire rack and allow to cool until they are cool enough for you to touch
  5. Turn down the oven to 140ºC (fan 120ºC). Cut the dough into slices about 1 cm thick on the diagonal using a bread knife and then lay them flat on the baking tray. You can cool the biscuits at this stage and freeze them flat on the baking tray, then put into bags and frozen for 2 months
  6. Bake for another 15 mins (20 mins if from frozen), turn them over and thne bake for another 15 minutes until dry and golden
  7. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack and then store in an airtight container for up to one month

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Make sure you check out the rest of the bloggers baking biscuits this week for the Great Bloggers Bake Off 2015 at http:///www.mummymishaps.co.uk

Mummy Mishaps
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Madeira Cake

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A close textured classic cake ideally with a dome and a crack. This cake signals the most exciting time in a baker’s year – the return of the Great British Bake Off! It also means the return of the Blogger’s Bake Along hosted by Jenny Paulin, which is something I joined in with last year and am very excited for again this year. I am due to move house towards the end of the Bake Off so I will join in for as many weeks as possible and pull a sad pouty face if instead of baking I am packing and unpacking!

Before the series started, we were treated to a preview of what the bakers would have as their first challenge in the tent. Week 1 was cake week which was a Madeira Cake, Walnut Cake and then a Black Forest Gateau. I’m not a massive fan of walnuts and didn’t fancy a Black Forest Gateau so decided to make a Madeira Cake. It also turned out that Madeira Cake is one of my Godmother’s favourite cakes and she was visiting from Aberdeen so it seemed like the obvious choice for the Bake Along.

I remember making Madeira Cake when I was a child using the recipe in my Mum’s Be-Ro book. I decided to use Mary Berry’s recipe from her Baking Bible because, well its’s Mary Berry. I didn’t realise there are ground almonds in a Madeira cake (there weren’t in the Be-Ro recipe anyway!) but because Mary Berry told me to, they went in the cake!

On the show, some of the contestants played about with the flavours but as this is such a classic cake, I decided to keep to the traditional recipe. I was pleased with how my cake turned out – I definitely had the dome shape needed and I’d go as far as saying as I had a pretty good crack in the top. I didn’t have a 7 inch cake tin so I used an 8 inch tin which is why mine may be a little shallower than usual. If you use an 8 inch tin, make sure you test the cake 5 – 10 mins earlier than the recipe suggests incase it has finished baking sooner.

175g softened butter
175 caster sugar
225g self raising flour
50g ground almonds
3 large eggs
Finely grated rind of 1 lemon

  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC or 160ºC fan. Line a 7 inch (18cm) deep cake tin with parchment paper
  2. Measure the butter, sugar, flour, ground almonds, eggs and grated lemon into a large bow and beat for approximately a minute

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  1. Tip the cake mix into the prepared tin and smooth until level

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  1. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes. Put the slice of citron peel on top of the cake and continue cooking for another 30-45 minutes or until a cocktail stick comes out clean

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  1. Leave to cool in the tin for roughly 10 minutes before turning out an allowing to cool completely on a wire rack

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Mummy Mishaps
Make sure you check out Jenny’s blog, Mummy Mishaps – http:///www.mummymishaps.co.uk
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Chocolate Bark

2015-06-20 09.15.35Your favourite chocolate sprinkled with some of your favourite flavours – what’s not to love?

This is almost not a recipe, but more of an assembly of ingredients which makes it perfect for people of all cooking abilities. It is also extremely easy to adapt the recipe depending on what you like.

I initially made this for Father’s Day (yes it has taken me a while to write this post!) for mine and Rien’s Dad’s. I’ve never gone crazy on Mother’s and Father’s Day but I like to do something thoughtful. Instead of just buying our the Dad’s chocolate, I decided to make them Chocolate Bark.

My Dad’s chocolate of choice is always dark chocolate. I added flavours I know he likes and would go really well with the dark chocolate; cashews, sea salt and chilli flakes. Add as much or little as you like, my Dad likes chilli so I added quite a generous sprinkle.

Rien’s Dad has a major weakness for Galaxy so I knew I had to use that. Unlike the dark chocolate, I added different chocolates I knew Rien’s Dad likes such as Malteasers and Minstrels as I wasn’t as sure of what flavours he would like. I finished it by adding some mini fudge pieces and gold sprinkles.

  1. Melt 400g of your chosen chocolate in a bowl set over simmering water – make sure the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl and you stir the chocolate occasionally

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  1. Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Once the chocolate has completely melted, pour it onto the lined baking tray and spread until it is the thickness you would like
  2. Add any toppings/flavourings you want onto the chocolate and then put in the fridge for a couple of hours until set

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  1. Once hard, break the chocolate into shards and enjoy!

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I put the chocolate in cellophane bags and tied with some ribbon to make them look good but also manly!

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Stilton, Apple & Walnut Salad

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A delicious salad with salty stilton, crunchy walnuts and sweet, crisp apples. The perfect accompaniment to any BBQ or as a light lunch. I don’t like walnuts, or stilton – well I didn’t think I did until I tried this salad!

We were invited to one of Rien’s colleagues, Gordon’s, house for a BBQ. The weather that week had been lovely, but in true British weather fashion there were showers all day. It was quite amusing to see Rien out there amongst the other men BBQ-ing under and umbrella. Rien perfectly cooked the burgers so I was very impressed, he can now be trusted with the BBQ when we eventually get one in our new house.

Gordon’s wife, Cicely, made a range of delicious salads with one of them being this Stilton, Apple and Walnut salad. As I said I didn’t think I liked walnuts and stilton until I tried this salad. It looked so appealing I had to give it a try and I was definitely pleased I did. Separately I’m not still not sure how much I would like the flavours, but when you combine them they really compliment each other. The dressing is also unusual but really adds to the flavours and helps make the salad so delicious.

The day after the BBQ I tried googling for the recipe but couldn’t find anything that included the ingredients Cicely mentioned. I gave in and asked Rien to see if he could get the recipe for me. After days of almost constant nagging, he finally asked for the recipe. I’m not sure whether Cicely found the recipe somewhere or whether she has made it up and adapted it, but it is great. Her recommendation is to eat it with a pork burger in a lovely fluffy roll as the apple works brilliantly with the pork.

I know this salad won’t be for everyone, but I do recommend giving it a go because it just might surprise you! The salad is best eaten on the day as the acid wilts the leaves slightly.

1 bag of mixed rocket, watercress and spinach salad
3 apples
juice of half a lemon
150g chopped walnuts
150g stilton 
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp maple syrup
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper

  1. Core the apples and chop into bite size chunks. Put in a bowl and add the lemon juice, stir to coat. The lemon juice will stop the apples from turning brown

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  1. In a large bowl, add the lettuce. Add the chopped walnuts and crumble chunks of stilton into the bowl
  2. In a separate small bowl, mix together the olive oil, maple syrup and balsamic vinegar. Season with salt and pepper – not too much salt as the stilton adds saltiness. Give the dressing a taste and add more oil, syrup or vinegar to adjust the sweetness/sharpness, remember the lemon juice with the apples will add some extra acidity

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  1. Add the apples and dressing just before serving and mix

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Eton Mess

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Crisp meringues with a squidgy centre covered in deliciously smooth whipped cream and topped with juicy strawberries. This dessert is perfect for early summer when British strawberries are at their best.

I’ve had Eton Mess many times before, but I don’t think I have ever had with home made meringues. Although they take a bit of time to cook, they’re quite simple to make and are definitely worth the effort. This is the perfect pudding for the summer because you don’t have to spend hours in a hot kitchen and you can make the meringues in advance and assemble later.

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I presented these in two different ways; he first was adding the whipped cream, strawberries and crushed meringues to a bowl and combining. The second way was to add each layer each ingredient in the bowl. This was definitely the best looking option but feel free to present it however you like!

For the meringues
4 large egg whites at room temperature 
115g caster sugar
115g icing sugar 

  1. Preheat the oven to 110ºC/ 100ºC fab. Line 2 baking trays with parchment paper or non stick liners. Do not use greaseproof paper as meringue can stick to it!
  2. Add the egg whites to the bowl of your mixer with the whisk attachment and beat them on a medium speed until they are fluffy and stand up in stiff peaks

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  1. Turn the speed up higher and add the caster sugar a spoonful at a time waiting a few seconds between adding the next spoonful. Once all of the caster sugar has been added the egg whites should look thick and glossy

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  1. Sift one third of the icing sugar into the egg whites and gently fold in with a large metal spoon. Continue to add the rest of the icing sugar a third at a time, folding it in as you go. The egg whites should now look smooth and full of air. Be careful not to over mix

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  1. Dollop dessert spoonfuls of the mixture onto the baking trays making sure you leave a small gap between each meringue. You can either smooth the meringues with the back of the spoon or leave them in rough mounds

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  1. Bake for 1½ – 1¾ hours in a fan oven and 1¼ hours in a standard oven. They are done when they sound crisp and hollow when tapped underneath and are a pale golden colour

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  1. Leave to cool completely on the trays. The meringues will keep in an airtight container for 2 weeks so although you might want to eat them all, you don’t have to!

300ml double cream
300g strawberries

  1. Pour the double cream into the bowl of your mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk on a slow to medium speed for a couple of minutes. You are looking for it to become thicker but not loose its smooth texture. It is better to keep stopping the mixer and checking on it rather than over whipping the cream!
  2. Hull the strawberries and cut them into pieces
  3. Crush the meringues and assemble the dish by either mixing the ingredients together in a bowl or by layer the ingredients separately into your serving dish

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Gym Bunny Mummy
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Soft Bread Rolls – Ted’s Rolls

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Nothing is better than freshly baked bread and these rolls are perfectly soft and fluffy making them great with anything.

I came across these rolls on Twitter. Lots of people I follow would talk about Ted’s Rolls over and over again. The original recipe was created by Sarah James on her blog Tales From The Kitchen Shed. I was initially drawn to make these rolls by the lovely photos people were posting of them, but it was after reading her blog post that I knew I had to make these. These aren’t just a great recipe, there is a lovely story behind how she adapted the recipe over time to create a soft fluffy roll that her ill father-in-law, Ted, could eat. Please visit her blog to read the full story –  http://www.talesfromthekitchenshed.com/2014/04/everyday-bread-rolls-teds-rolls/.

Another reason I think you should check out this recipe on Tales From the Kitchen Shed is that Sarah has written the recipe so clearly and has some great tips. As you can see from my blog posts, I like to include photos of the whole process and not just the end result. I really like that Sarah does this on her blog too because it isn’t something you see as often as I would like!

I’d made bread rolls before, and even have a blog post with a lovely recipe but they are for crispy rolls. I do love a crispy roll, but they’re not necessarily the type of roll I would like to eat everyday. For an everyday roll, I prefer soft and fluffy rolls which is exactly what these Ted’s rolls are.

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I made a batch of these rolls (16 – 18 rolls) which we ate over the course of the weekend, we made lovely rolls to take on a picnic and also gave a couple away to my brother-in-law’s family. I was chuffed that the bread expert (Rien) liked them and I got some lovely comments from Dom’s family.

1 kg strong white bread flour
3 tsp sea salt
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp instant yeast
8 tbsp rapeseed oil
Approximately 600ml lukewarm water
Spray oil

  1. Attach the dough hook to your mixer. Add the flour, salt, sugar and yeast to the bowl making a well in the middle. Add the oil and half of the water into the well
  2. Mix on the lowest speed for a couple of minutes
  3. Add the rest of the water and mix on the second speed for 8 – 10 minutes
  4. Check your dough is ready by pinching a small piece of dough off and stretching it between your fingers. Sarah calls this the window pane test as the dough is ready when it is translucent when you hold it up to the light
  5. Put the dough in a greased bowl and cover with cling film – make sure you spray with cling film with oil too. Leave the dough to prove for at least one and a half hours or until the dough has doubled in size

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  1. Lightly flour your work surface and tun the dough out onto it. Divide the dough into 90g portions which will be 16-18 balls. You can do it by eye but by weighing it you can get rolls all the same time which I think makes these rolls even more appealing

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  1. Shape each portion into balls and then place them on a greased baking tray. You must make sure that you don’t leave more than 2 ½cm between the rolls otherwise they won’t touch when baking and this is crucial for producing soft fluffy rolls. Gently press the rolls when once you’ve placed them on the tray to flatten them slightly

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  1. Cover the rolls with greased cling film and leave to prove in a warm place for 30 – 45 minutes. When the rolls are proving, preheat the oven to 200ºC
  2. Put the rolls in the oven for 25 minutes – check half way through to see if the tray needs turning if one side is browning quicker than the other
  3. To test the rolls are ready, tap the underneath and if its hollow they’re ready. Allow to cool for a couple of minutes on the tray before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely

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Visit Tales From The Kitchen Shed for how to make the rolls without using a mixer – its just as easy!

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Rainbow Layer Cake

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Unassuming and simple from the outside, but when it’s cut into it has the most amazing layers of colour. This cake really does have the wow factor!

I’d been wanting to make this cake for a long time but hadn’t found an reason good enough to actually make it. I waited long enough and the perfect occasion came around – Rien’s brother, Daarek’s birthday. I knew this would be the perfect cake for him and I wasn’t wrong! He is always so complimentary with my cakes so I wanted to step it up for him and make him a birthday cake that was a bit special.

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The inspiration for this recipe came from a lovely blog, Kerry Cooks. Her blog was the first place I remember seeing a rainbow layer cake that actually gave you a recipe to make the cake yourself. A lot of the American recipes  use a boxed cake mix. Her blog has some fantastic tips which I was able to use and adapt slightly to create my Rainbow Layer Cake.

You may look at this cake and feel slightly scared, but there is really no need to be! You need to make sure you have the right equipment and then you’ll be fine. To make this cake as easy as possible, I bought the Easy Cake Layer Pan Set by Wilton from Lakeland. I’m sure there are plenty of places you can buy them online. One tip if you do buy these cake pans; do not believe them when they say they are non stick! I stupidly believed that they were the first time I used them to make an ombre cake and ended up with some cake getting stuck to the pans. I recommend lining the tins with baking paper to prevent this from happening. On her blog, Kerry used disposable pans which you can find in lots of supermarkets and pound shops which is a great tip if you don’t want to buy any new equipment.

The cake pan set is for 5 layers, so the recipe below will make you a 5 layered rainbow cake. Each pan is 6 inches which I think is the perfect size for this cake seeing as you are stacking 5 layers of cake with lots of buttercream. It also means each layer isn’t too thick. If I were to make this cake for myself, I would use cream cheese frosting like Kerry did. However most people, including Daarek, prefer buttercream so that is what I used.

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You also need really good gel colouring to get the fantastic vibrant colours. The liquid food colourings you can buy in supermarkets just aren’t good enough. You need concentrated gel colouring which you can buy online or in shops like Lakeland and Hobby Craft. My favourite brand to use is Wilton because they have a great range of colours an can give you really bright colours without having to use loads of it.

When it comes to icing cakes I think it is definitely worth investing in a cake turntable. This allows you to smoothly turn the cake backwards and forwards when you’re decorating it which is a huge help! I also use a large off-set spatula to apply the buttercream to the cake holding it at a 90° angle. A spatula dipped in hot water and then dried is a great way of getting a smooth finish on your cake. There are lots of different techniques and ways people find help them, but this is what works for me.

What I like most about this recipe is this one cake mix will make enough for all 5 layers so you don’t have to faff around making different mixes. An obviously that it looks pretty amazing!

For the cake 
225g butter or margarine
225g caster sugar
4 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste

225g self-raising flour
2 tsp baking powder

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan. Line you cake pans
  2. Add the butter and sugar to your bowl and cream until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time starting on a low speed and increasing it after each egg has been added. I find this helps incorporate the eggs better. Add the vanilla and mix again before finally adding the flour and baking powder
  3. Split the cake mix equally into 5 different bowls. I do this by weighing my mixer bowl when its empty and then taking this away from the weight when it has the finished cake mix in. I then divide this by 5. You can do it by eye but I prefer to be exact as this will help make even layers
  4. Colour each bowl of cake mix a different colour – I coloured mine red, orange, yellow, green and blue but feel free to use whatever colours you like. Start with a small amount of colouring as a little bit goes a long way. You an always add more and make it brighter but you can’t make it lighter again!

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  1. Pour each bowl of coloured cake mix into your prepared tins and bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes. They’re done when a cocktail stick comes out clean

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  1. Allow the cakes to cool slightly in the pans before turning out onto a wire rack and let them cool completely

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  1. Once completely cooled, level the cakes so that they stack more evenly. I do this with a cake wire which allows you to cut a clean level line using a serrated wire. You can use a knife but I find this works better and reduces the risk of making a mistake! I set the cake wire to the height of the cake that needs the most cut off it to make it level. You’re looking to take the smallest amount of cake off to make the cake flat

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  1. Once the cakes are leveled, you’re ready for the buttercream!

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For the buttercream
420g unsalted butter
840g icing sugar
4 – 6 tbsp milk

  1. Mix the butter and icing sugar together until pale and smooth. Add enough milk until it is a smooth spreadable consistency
  2. Starting with the blue layer, place one layer onto your cake board and then add a generous layer of buttercream. Repeat with all 5 layers

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  1. Once all of the layers are stacked, it is time to apply the crumb coat. This locks all of the crumbs in place so that the final layer of buttercream is smooth and crumb-free. Do this by applying a thin layer of buttercream to cover the whole cake. At this stage it doesn’t have to look pretty. After you’ve applied your crumb coat, but in the fridge for at least 30 minutes for it to set slightly

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  1. Once the crumb coat has become firm to the touch, you can now apply the final layer of buttercream. Make sure you use quite a generous amount of buttercream and take your time!

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  1. You can decorate the cake however you would like. I chose to keep it completely plain on the outside and made some bunting to stick in the top

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Make sure you check out Kerry’s blog http://kerrycooks.com/easy-6-layer-rainbow-cake-step-by-step/

Apologies for the photos not being the best, I always find it hard to take photos of cakes I have made for people. And I can’t take my usual kit with me!

Gym Bunny Mummy
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Strawberry Pavlova

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Marshmallowy in the centre with crisp and chewy edges piled high with whipped cream and delicious fruit. Now if that doesn’t scream perfect summer desert to you, I don’t know what will!

I decided to make a pavlova after a trip to Borough Market where I bought the most delicious looking strawberries. I instantly thought they would make a perfect topping to pavlova. It also meant I got to use the whisk attachment to my mixer which I have rarely used. Feel free to make this recipe by hand, but I would really recommend using an electric whisk if possible to avoid your arm seriously aching! Then you won’t be able to lift the fork to your mouth to eat it!

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I’d never made pavlova, or even meringue before, so I thought it was definitely time for me to try. Most pavlovas are topped with whipped cream and then a selection of fruit. You can choose a number of different fruit that work well together or lots of one type like I did here.

Usually when I bake or make desserts I make them for other people to enjoy too so Rien and I don’t end up eating it all. However with this pavlova, over a few days we managed to eat the whole thing! It was so delicious we kept going back for more and of course the strawberries make it healthy…I can definitely see me making this a number of times over the summer, I might even share it next time! I loved the crisp chewy outside of the pavlova mixed with the soft, melt in your mouth marshmallow centre.

6 egg whites
pinch of salt
270g caster sugar
1 tsp white vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract or paste
2 tsp cornflour

  1. Preheat the oven to 120ºC. Draw a 8″ circle on baking paper and turn it over onto a baking tray so the pencil won’t touch the pavlova

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  1. Whisk 6 egg whites with a pinch of salt until soft peaks form

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  1. Gradually add the sugar a tablespoon at a time as this allows the sugar to disolve. Keep whisking until the egg whites are smooth and glossy with no trace of sugar

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  1. Carefully fold in the vinegar, vanilla and cornflour
  2. Dab a small amount of mix on each corner of the baking tray to secure the baking paper to the tray. Pile the mix onto the baking tray trying to keep inside the line. Shape it like a cake – you can either flatten the top for a more traditional look or spike the top for a dramatic effect

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  1. Bake in the oven for 1 to 1½ hours, you’ll know it it’s done by lightly tapping the top and it’s hard. Turn the oven off and leave the door slightly open. Leave the pavlova to cool completely

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For the topping
300ml double or whipping cream
Strawberries – as many as you like!
2 tbsp sugar 

  1. Hull the strawberries and then put roughly half of them into a bowl. Gradually add the sugar, tasting as you go until the strawberries are the perfect sweetness. Put them aside for 30 mins or so

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  1. Whip the cream using the whisk attachment (or if you’re brave, by hand) until the cream is soft but holds its shape. If you whip for too long the cream will become over whipped and not look smooth and silky

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  1. Add the whipped cream to the top of the pavlova and spread out. The strawberries with the sugar should look glossy and have a thick syrup now. Add these on top of the cream and then add the remaining hulled strawberries

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I got the recipe for the pavlova here –  http://www.theinternetchef.biz/292/how-to-make-pavlova-new-zealand-style#sthash.cFUGO1qd.dpuf

Gym Bunny Mummy
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