Category Archives: Bread

Cheese Scones

Who doesn’t love cheese? And what better way to enjoy it than in some big fluffy Cheese Scones?! These are simple to make and a real crowd-pleaser. 

Cheese Scones

A Cheese Scone to remember

Until now, the only cheese scones I remember eating are those made by my lovely friend SJ. I used to work with SJ and she would often treat us with her lovely cheese scones. She would get up extra early and bake them for us before work. Every time she made them they were absolutely perfect. 

So obviously I had to ask for her recipe. And I have been meaning to make my own version for years. It was only when I was making baby friendly cheese scones for my nephew that I realised it was definitely time! So I dug out her recipe (that she gave me in 2015!) and got to work!

Cheese Scones

Tweaking an existing Cheese Scone recipe 

So I had SJ’s recipe, but it had the amount of cheese missing! I saw this as an opportunity to add how much cheese I wanted. I did ask her how much cheese was meant to be in the recipe after I had made mine. Let’s just say my version is more generous with the cheese! I also added some Parmesan because I love the slightly salty flavour it gives. 

The tweaks weren’t just with the cheese. Cheese calls out for mustard powder and cayenne pepper! These spices really enhance the cheese flavour without overpowering it. Another tweak was to brush the scones with milk instead of egg. I prefer to use milk because even if you use a small egg, you won’t need all of it and the rest goes to waste.

Cheese Scones

Cheese Scone baking tips 

I am no cheese scone pro (that’s SJ) but I do have some tips! As with all scones, the less you can handle it; the better. Do not be tempted to start kneading the dough to get it smooth and soft. Because of this, some of my scones are a little rustic on top with a few cracks. I don’t mind this at all! I would rather have a slightly more rustic looking scone that is delicious and light inside rather than a smooth topped scone that is a bit dense. 

Also make sure you don’t brush the milk on the sides of the scones as this can affect how well they rise. And one thing you don’t want is a flat scone!  

Cheese Scones

Best eaten fresh!

As with all scones, these Cheese Scones are best eaten on the day you bake them. You could stretch it to the day after too if needed. If twelve is too much for you to eat, you could always half the recipe and make six. Alternatively you can freeze them for up to a month. 

If after day two you still have the odd one left, you could put them in the microwave briefly to revive them! 

5 from 1 vote

Cheese Scones

Who doesn't love cheese? And what better way to enjoy it than in some big fluffy Cheese Scones?! These are simple to make and a real crowd-pleaser. 

Course Snack
Cuisine British
Keyword Cheese Scones
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 12
Calories 263 kcal
Author Curly


  • 500 g plain flour
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • tsp cream of tartar
  • 2 tsp mustard powder
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 50 g unsalted butter
  • 300 ml semi-skimmed milk
  • 150 g cheddar cheese grated
  • 20 g Parmesan finely grated

To finish

  • 1 tbsp semi-skimmed milk
  • 20 g cheddar cheese grated


  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C (fan assisted, 220°C non fan). Line two baking trays with silicon liners or spray with oil

  2. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, salt, bicarbonate of soda, cream of tartar, mustard powder and cayenne pepper

  3. Cut the butter into cubes and add it to the flour. Rub the butter into the flour using your fingertips to get a very fine breadcrumb consistency

  4. Add the grated cheddar and Parmesan and mix briefly

  5. Add the milk and begin stirring with a knife to combine. Use your hands to finish bringing the dough together

  6. Tip out onto a lightly floured surface and bring the dough into a circle roughly 2½-3cm in depth. Make sure you handle the dough as little as possible

  7. Flour a 6½cm round cutter and then cut out scones and lay them on the prepared trays. Make sure you leave enough of a gap for the scones to spread when cooking

  8. Gather up the remaining dough and bring together to form a smaller circle. Keep cutting out more scones until all of the dough is used

  9. Brush each scone with milk and scatter with cheese

  10. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes until risen and golden brown

Nutrition Facts
Cheese Scones
Amount Per Serving
Calories 263 Calories from Fat 90
% Daily Value*
Fat 10g15%
Saturated Fat 6g38%
Cholesterol 27mg9%
Sodium 533mg23%
Potassium 280mg8%
Carbohydrates 34g11%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 2g2%
Protein 9g18%
Vitamin A 345IU7%
Vitamin C 0.1mg0%
Calcium 162mg16%
Iron 2.1mg12%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
You may also like my Cheese & Chutney Muffins

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Garlic & Parsley Dough Balls

These Garlic & Parsley Dough Balls are delicious and extremely addictive. Once you have one you won’t be able to stop! Light and fluffy and covered in delicious garlic & parsley butter. 
 I realised recently that I haven’t made bread for a long time. I love bread, but it isn’t something I make very often. This is because freshly made bread is very hard to resist and between Mr Curly and I we would probably eat a whole loaf in a weekend! 

My family were coming round for dinner recently and I had decided to make Ravioli Lasagne. What better to go with an Italian inspired meal than dough balls?! I’d never made dough balls before so at least my family might be kind if the didn’t turn out quite right!

They were coming round for dinner after I’d been at work all day so I didn’t have enough time to make the dough from scratch and let it prove twice. Instead I did what is called a slow prove. I made the dough the night before and left it in the fridge overnight. The fridge dramatically slows down the time dough takes to prove and it can be left proving for 12-24 hours. Don’t leave it longer than this though because it might over prove! 

All that was left to do the next day was to shape the dough and leave to prove for 30 minutes – just enough time to take the dogs for a walk! The shaping of the dough was where my error occurred. Instead of making dough balls, I made dough rolls. I weighed out each ball to be 50g which was a little large!

The final product well and truly got the thumbs up from everyone. The good thing about my family is that they would have given me honest feedback, so if they told me they were good, I know they’re good!

The recipe did need a few tweaks though. Obviously the size was a little large, but they also needed more garlic and parsley butter. I had a few hours spare the next afternoon…and I had all of the ingredients…so obviously I had to attempt my Garlic & Parsley Dough Balls again!

The second attempt was perfect! But obviously I couldn’t keep them in the house because I would have munched them all! So instead I took them round to my sister’s house where my Mum had made a curry. Garlic & Parsley Dough Balls are better than naan bread! I did keep a few back to eat when I got home that evening after a hen do! 

Anyway, enough of me rambling about how these Garlic & Parsley Dough Balls came about. You need to try these, they are absolutely delicious. So light and fluffy and smothered in the tastiest garlic parsley butter. You’ll make them once and then all you’ll be able to do is think about them. Trust me. 

5 from 11 votes

Garlic & Parsley Dough Balls

These Garlic & Parsley Dough Balls are delicious and extremely addictive. Once you have one you won't be able to stop! Light and fluffy and covered in delicious garlic & parsley butter. 

Course Bread
Cuisine Italian
Keyword Dough balls, Bread
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 18 minutes
Proving time 2 hours
Total Time 1 hour 3 minutes
Servings 26
Calories 114 kcal
Author Curly


  • 500 g strong plain flour
  • 7 g instant yeast (one packet)
  • tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp caster sugar
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 300 ml lukewarm water
  • spray oil

For the garlic butter

  • 100 g unsalted butter softened
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves minced


  1. Add the flour, yeast, salt and sugar together in the bowl of your mixer. Make a well in the middle and pour in the oil and water.

  2. Mix on the lowest speed for 2 minutes using the dough hook.

  3. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and the dough hook before adding the rest of the water and mixing for 8 minutes. You may need to stop half way and scrape the dough off the dough hook. 

  4. Take the dough out of the mixer and onto a lightly floured surface. Knead the dough a couple of times until the dough is soft and smooth. 

  5. Put the dough in a bowl sprayed with oil and cover with oiled cling film. Leave to prove for 1-2 hours until it has doubled in size. 

  6. Knock the air out of the dough by hitting it down in the bowl. Tip it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead a couple of times

  7. Divide the dough into 30g balls by cutting off sections of dough and rolling them into balls. Line these within 1cm of each other in a oiled roasting tin.

  8. Cover the dough with oiled cling film and leave to prove for 30 minutes 

  9. Preheat the oven to 190ºC (fan assisted, 210ºC non fan) and cook for 8 minutes. While the dough balls are cooking, mix together the butter, chopped parsley, garlic and salt 

  10. After 8 minutes in the oven, take the dough balls out and add a small dab of the parsley butter on top of each ball

  11. Put back in the oven to bake for a further 8-10 minutes until golden brown 

Nutrition Facts
Garlic & Parsley Dough Balls
Amount Per Serving
Calories 114 Calories from Fat 45
% Daily Value*
Fat 5g8%
Saturated Fat 2g13%
Cholesterol 8mg3%
Sodium 224mg10%
Potassium 4mg0%
Vitamin A 120IU2%
Vitamin C 0.5mg1%
Calcium 2mg0%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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Peanut Butter & Chocolate Banana Bread

Delicious fluffy banana bread studded with chocolate chips and the crunch of peanut butter. My Peanut Butter & Chocolate Banana Bread is the best way to use up old bananas. 

I know I’m not the only person who buys bananas and seems to have a couple that don’t get eaten straight away and start to become brown, spotty and generally less desirable. Previously I used to moan and vow to not buy bananas again because they would be wasted. Now, I welcome the brown spots! I have even been known to stop Mr Curly eating the bananas when they are yellow because I am waiting for them to turn brown so I can make this Peanut Butter & Chocolate Banana Bread. 

I have been making Banana Bread for years and is very popular each time I make it; but I wanted to make a variation of it that was a bit more indulgent. Obviously peanut butter and chocolate chips sprang to mind as they would go perfectly with the banana. 

It took a couple of attempts before I was happy with the recipe. The first time there wasn’t enough peanut butter, the second time was nearly there but lacking something. That is when I decided to change from smooth to chunky peanut butter. That was the final tweak I was looking for! The crunch from the peanut butter is just what is needed to help reinforce the fact that peanuts are included and not just relying on their flavour. 

The first two attempts were tested by my always willing colleagues at work. They do get to enjoy the things I bake them, but they have to listen to waffle on about them asking for any improvements I can make!

I have used milk chocolate in this recipe, but dark chocolate would go really well too. You could also use smooth peanut butter if this is all you have and it will taste great. You will just not have the added little crunch. I added a few peanut butter chips to the top of my loaf which Mr Curly got me on a work trip to America. If you have them, you can add them; if not don’t. 

Although this is called Peanut Butter & Chocolate Banana Bread, I think of it as more of a cake. It is incredibly easy and quick to make which is another reason I love it so much. I have often whipped this up one evening while dinner is cooking in the oven and then put it after dinner is ready. I can then go and eat dinner and clear up while this cooks without needing any attention. 

It will keep in an airtight container for a couple of days, but I highly doubt it will last that long!


125g unsalted butter, softened
100g light brown sugar
50g dark brown sugar
2 eggs
250g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt 
250g bananas, mashed
100g milk chocolate chips or chunks
130g crunchy peanut butter
2 tbsp milk 
A few chocolate chips to decorate (optional) 

  1. Preheat the oven to 160ºC (fan assisted or 180ºC non fan) and line a 2lb loaf tin
  2. Beat the butter and sugar together for at least 5 minutes until pale and fluffy

  1. Add the eggs and mix again
  2. Add the flour, baking powder and salt and stir into the butter until the flour is nearly combined, but not quite

  1. Mash the bananas roughly with a fork and add them to the mix along with the peanut butter and chocolate chips. Mix until combined

  1. Tip into the lined tin and smooth. I then make a shallow indent down the middle to help even rising. Scatter over the additional chocolate chips if you’re using them

  1. Bake in the oven for 1 hour until a cocktail stick comes out clean. If it starts to get too brown, cover it loosely with tin foil 

  1. Allow to cool for around 30 minutes before removing from the tin and cooling completely on a wire rack

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Apple & Sultana Teacakes

Sweet rolls studded with apples and sultanas, toasted and slathered in butter – amazing. 

Teacakes instantly make me think of the North, and Northern England, specifically Yorkshire is somewhere I am particularly fond of. I’m not suggesting that teacakes aren’t eaten anywhere else in the UK, but I think they are a bit more popular up North. 

To me, Teacakes are the all year and bigger equivalent of a hot cross bun. They also don’t have the fiddly cross on the top which makes them easier to make! I usually stock up on hot cross buns at Easter and freeze them so I can have one later in the year when they’re not in the shops, but after making these I can honestly say I won’t do that anymore and I will whip up a batch of these. 

I followed the basic recipe by Paul Hollywood but adapted the flavours. I know currants and mixed peel are traditional, but I don’t really like either of these! I decided to adapt the recipe to make my ideal teacake – apple and sultana with the subtle taste of cinnamon. Now before you get worried that the cinnamon will be overpowering, the amount I have included in the recipe is subtle, but if you are worried you can add half the amount instead as I know some people (like my Mum) aren’t too keen on cinnamon. I on the other hand am pretty fanatical about cinnamon and I added nearly 2 teaspoons of it to my dough! 

I decided to use dried apple instead of fresh apple because I didn’t want to risk the moisture from the apples giving me a soggy dough. The dried apple worked really well and the flavour combination was exactly what I was hoping for. Just a heads up though, dried apple doesn’t seem to be stocked in all supermarkets, well at least not where I live. I had to go to a large supermarket to get it.

Once the Teacakes have been rolled out and proved, I would recommend poking in any of the fruit which is sticking out above the dough. If not, some of the exposed fruit may get a little black and a blackened sultana is quite bitter! 

Usually when you bake bread, eating it the same day and enjoying the freshly baked goodness is essential. However as Teacakes are toasted, they can be enjoyed the next day too. It did feel strange toasting freshly baked bread though, but in my opinion you do have to toast a Teacake. But if you’re like my Dad, he would eat it as it is, maybe that’s because he’s from the South!

500g strong white flour
10g salt
60g caster sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon (heaped)
10g instant yeast
50g unsalted butter, softened
300ml water
100g sultanas 
100g dried apple
1 egg, beaten
Spray oil

  1. Add the flour into you mixer and add the yeast to one side of the bowl and the sugar, salt and cinnamon to the other. Then add the butter and 225g of the water. Attach the dough hook and mix until the flour starts to get incorporated 

  1. Keep adding the rest of the water until all of the flour is incorporated and a ball of dough is forming. You might need all of the water, or you might need a bit more  just make sure you add it slowly so you don’t add too much

  1. Set the mixer to a medium speed and knead the dough for around 5 minutes. You may need to pull the dough from around the hook if it gets stuck to make sure it keeps getting kneaded. If the dough gets a bit wet and sticky, add a sprinkle of flour
  2. Once the dough is soft and smooth, put it in  clean bowl and cover with oiled cling film and leave to rise until it has at least doubled in size. This could take anywhere between 1 – 3 hours 

  1. Line 2 baking trays with baking paper. Uncover the dough and add the sultanas and apple. Start mixing them into the dough in the bowl before turning the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and kneading for a minute or so to fully incorporate the fruit

  1. Divide the dough into 8 equal portions and roll into balls. Using a rolling pin roll out each ball until it is around 1cm thick and then place on the lined baking tray. Do this for all 8 balls and put four buns on each tray making sure there is some space around each

  1. Brush the teacakes with the beaten egg and cover with oiled cling film. Leave for an hour or until they have doubled in size

  1. Preheat the oven to 200ºC and bake the teacakes (after removing the cling film obviously!) for 10-15 minutes until they are golden and sound hollow when tapped

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Soda Bread

Crusty bread that you can be tucking into in just over an hour – what could be better?2015-08-20 20.01.18

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.

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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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Soft Bread Rolls – Ted’s Rolls

Nothing is better than freshly baked bread and these rolls are perfectly soft and fluffy making them great with anything.2015-05-24 18.26.29

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 –

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.

2015-05-24 18.27.51

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

2015-05-24 13.43.28

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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

2015-05-24 15.31.01

  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

2015-05-24 16.08.55

  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!

Rosemary & Salt Fougasse

2015-05-04 13.10.46

Freshly baked bread that doesn’t only taste amazing, but looks impressive too!

I wanted to  bake some bread but to Rien’s disgust, I didn’t want to make a normal loaf or rolls (He pouted and moaned throughout the whole process because he wouldn’t be able to make a sandwich with it). I remembered a type of bread I had seen on one of Lorraine Pascale’s programmes called fougasse and thought it had looked great so decided that would be perfect.

I have only made quite basic loaves or rolls before so I was keen to expand my skills and make a shaped loaf. Although this type of bread doesn’t require a great deal of skill, it does look impressive once baked.

Rien managed to get over the fact it wasn’t a loaf by the time the fougasse came out of the oven and couldn’t wait to try some. We let it cool slightly and then tucked in – it was delicious! The crust was only slightly crisp with the great flavour of rosemary and sea salt. The bread went perfectly with some meat and cheese which I think is a lovely weekend lunch. Its safe to say Rien wasn’t disappointed and said he would look forward to me making it again.

I love the flavours of rosemary and salt, especially with bread. The recipe I used had tomatoes and onions but I decided to go with rosemary and salt as I tend to have these most of the time, but feel free to add any toppings you like. For example I’ve seen fougasse recipes with chorizo which sounds delicious and I will be trying that soon! I got the recipe for the dough from Good Food I look forward to adding new flavours to the dough now I know how easy it is! Feel free to try your own flavours, I’d love to hear how you get on.

2015-05-04 13.10.58

For the dough
500g strong white bread flour
7g sachet yeast
2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
350ml hand-hot water
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp chopped rosemary

  1. Mix the flour, yeast, salt, sugar and chopped rosemary together. Add the water and oil and mix to form a soft dough

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  1. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead for 5 minutes. I tend to start it in my mixer with a dough hook and then finish it by kneading my hand. When pressed, the dough should spring back when it has been kneaded enough

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  1. Put back in the bowl and cover with a clean tea towel or cling film sprayed with oil. Leave to rise for 1 hour
  2. Heat the oven to 240°C (220°C fan). Divide the dough into two and shape into long rectangles approximately 25cm long
  3. Place on a floured baking sheet and brush lightly with water. Cut one diagonal slash through the dough and then three slashes either side to give the dough leaf like markings. Open out the slashes slightly

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For the topping
1 tsp olive oil
1 tbsp rosemary leaves
1 tsp sea salt

  1. Scatter the salt over the bread. Dip the rosemary leaves in the oil to help the stick to the bread but also to stop them burning

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  1. Leave to rise for 15 mins, then bake for 15-20 mins until risen and golden brown

Monkey Bread

Monkey Bread 2

(photo by Greedy Betty)

This is the first of three posts that will include photographs from my photography lesson with Betty. I started talking to her on Twitter and was blown away by her fantastic photography on her website When we realised we both lived in the same town, she very kindly invited me over so I could get some photography tips. Photographing food is something I would really like to improve on.

It was fantastic to learn about lighting, how to create a scene for a photograph and tips on how to use my camera on the manual setting which had always scared me! It was great to meet up with someone who was as passionate about food as I am. It was a fantastic opportunity to learn, and also meet such a lovely person. I hope in future posts you will be able to see small differences as my photographs improve (go easy on me though!). Photoshop is top of the list followed very closely by a light box!

This recipe is the first I decided to make for the photography session. I saw it on one of my favourite blogs – Sally’s Baking Addiction ( She has so many delicious sounding recipes, but when I saw her recipe for Monkey Bread I knew it would be the first recipe I tried. The recipe is little cinnamon balls baked in a bundt tin with the idea of picking the individual balls off, like monkeys do when they groom each other. Bundt cakes seem to be very popular at the moment, and this recipe is another way of using your bundt tin but for something a little different.

I know I say you should make a lot of the recipes I feature on here, but if you love cinnamon rolls, this is the recipe for you. It is absolutely delicious! Personally, I think American recipes are great for cinnamon based food because American’s seem to love their cinnamon and know how to use it. It makes a big old portion which makes it perfect for a party or a family occasion.

This recipe needs to be left overnight. Please read the whole recipe before starting.

For the dough
1 package of yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1 & 1/4 cups warm milk (semi skimmed or higher)
1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp  salt
5 cups plain flour
Spray oil

  1. Put the yeast in a bowl and add the warm water. Stir it around a let it sit for a couple of minutes. Add the milk, melted butter, sugar, eggs, salt and 3 cups of flour. Beat using a dough hook for 3 minutes (or mix by hand)
  2. Add enough flour to form a firm dough. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Keep adding enough flour until it forms a firm dough, this will be about 5 cups in total. Knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, this should take about 5 minutes. Don’t over knead or else you will have a tough chewy dough. Form the dough into a smooth bowl and put it into a large greased bowl and cover with cling film. Put it in the fridge for 8 hours or overnight to allow the dough to prove

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For the coating
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 & 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 tbsp ground cinnamon

  1. Melt the butter in a small bowl. In another bowl mix the granulated sugar and cinnamon together
  2. Spray a 10-12 cup bundt tin with spray oil and set aside. Punch down the dough and then pull small pieces of dough off and roll them into balls approximately 2.5cm in width. You need approximately 40-45 balls in total so don’t roll them too big or too small!
  3. Dip each dough ball into the melted butter and then roll in the sugar and cinnamon until generously coated. Do this with each ball and arrange them neatly into the bundt tin. Depending on how generous you are with the sugar and cinnamon mix, you may need a little more sugar

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  1. Once all of the balls are assembled, cover with cling film and leave for 45 mins for the dough to prove

For the drizzle
1/4 cup butter, melted
2/3 cup light or dark brown sugar (I used 1/3 cup of each)
1 tsp vanilla extract

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Melt the butter and whisk in the brown sugar and vanilla extract. Pour this over the dough balls in the bundt tin

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  1. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. If the top looks like it is browning too quickly, cover loosely with foil
  2. Allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes and then turn out

For the glaze
1 cup icing sugar
3 tbsp cream or whole milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

  1. Whisk all of the ingredients together and pour over the bread. You may need to add a little bit more cream/milk to get to a nice pouring consistency

This recipe is so tasty you won’t be able to stop yourself going back for another gooey, sticky cinnamon ball! You have been warned!

Cat Minkey Bread

 (photo by me!)

Please visit for more of Betty’s amazing work.

Hot Cross Buns

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I love Easter because to me it is the baking holiday! There are so many different things to bake that really lend themselves to being Easter themed even if that is sticking a mini egg on a cupcake. I’m glad we have four days off work because I am going to need it for the amount of baking I have planned.

Hot cross buns are an essential at Easter in my opinion. There are lots of different recipes out there with slight variations but I decided to go with this one by Paul Hollywood because I liked the idea of putting apple in them. The original recipe can be found at

My Mum searches the shops for hot cross buns that don’t have peel in them because she hates it; every year Dad ends up buying them some with peel in saying “he forgot”. I am slightly risking it by trying to convert her with this recipe. I bought a big bag of mixed fried fruit which has a selection of raisins, sultanas and a small amount of peel. I’m going to not mention the peel and see if she notices because there really is such a small amount, but if notices I’ll try and see if Dad’s excuse works! Fingers crossed!

For the buns:
300ml whole milk

500g strong white flour
75g caster sugar
1 tsp salt
7g sachet fast-action yeast
50g butter
1 egg beaten
230g mixed dried fruit
1 apple, cored and finely chopped
2 oranges, zest only
2 tsp ground cinnamon
oil for greasing the bowl

  1. Bring the milk to the boil and then remove from the heat and leave to cool until it reaches hand temperature. Keep watching it until small bubbles start appearing and then take it off the heat – don’t let it get too hot
  2. Mix the flour, sugar, salt, yeast, butter and egg together in a bowl, then slowly add the warmed milk until it forms a sticky dough

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  1. Add the dried fruit, finely chopped apple, orange zest and cinnamon and mix. It is a little tricky to mix all of the fruit into the dough but don’t worry as you will be able to mix this in more thoroughly when you knead it. Tip out of the bowl onto a lightly floured surface
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  1. Knead the dough for five minutes, or until smooth and elastic
  1. Put the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with oiled cling film and leave to rise for approximately one hour, or until doubled in size. I like to use spray oil for this because it is very low in calorie and its quick and easy to spray the bowl and cling film

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  1. Lightly flour your surface and roll the dough into a long sausage shape and divide it into 12 pieces. Roll each section into a round ball and place them on a lined baking tray. Leave enough room so they have enough space to rise. leave to prove for another hour

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  1. Heat the oven to 200ºC

For the cross:
75g plain flour

  1. Mix the flour with five tablespoons of water, add a spoonful at at a time and mix. You’re looking for a thick paste consistency so don’t add all of the water if you don’t need it
  1. Spoon into a piping bag with a small, circular nozzle. Pipe across each bun and then pipe in the other direction to make a cross. This isn’t like piping butter cream – the flour and water are really elastic and I found the easiest way of finishing your cross was with the help of some scissors to cut off the paste

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  1. Bake for approximately 20 minutes or until golden brown

For the glaze:
3 tbsp apricot jam

  1. Heat the apricot jam on a low heat in a pan and then sieve to remove the chunks. While the jam is still warm, brush over the top of the buns to give a lovely shine

Throughout the process of making these, the smell of the fruit and cinnamon is amazing! We did sneak one straight out of the oven before I did the glaze and the butter melted instantly and they really did taste lovely. They do take a bit of time and effort – from start to finish took approximately 3 1/2 hours but it was enjoyable and worth it in my opinion.