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29 Mar 2011

Give your coffee wings!


 While out on one of my many shopping trips I happened across some amazing cookie cutters.  These aren't your normal cookie cutters, these are different, these are just so darned sweet you could have your sugary fill just by looking at them.  These cookies give your coffee wings!

How freakin' adorable is that?!  I'm so obsessed with looking at them I've started baking them for the studio, I just love watching peoples faces when I hand them a winged cup of coffee.  They come with their very own recipe but I decided to stick with my trusty sugar cookie recipe!

You can buy them right here (points downwards) from good old Amazon!  Go on, give your coffee wings ;)


26 Mar 2011

More Macarons

I've been craving macarons like crazy recently.  Sadly, there doesn't seen to be anywhere in Newcastle which stocks a decent macaron.  So, I was reduced to making my own.  Usually I'm not a fan of making macarons, I just hate wasting all those egg yolks so when I discovered you could purchase cartons of Two Chicks egg whites in my local Waitrose I was overjoyed.  


I was a little apprehensive at first, I mean egg whites in a carton? Gross!  My apprehension was short lived, these whites are of great quality and whisk up perfectly.  I was blown away, I am now a full Two Chicks convert!


Multicoloured Macarons
From Delicious Magazine

Ingredients

175g icing sugar
125g ground almonds
3 large free-range egg whites
75g caster sugar

Method

 Preheat the oven to 160°C/fan140°C/gas 3. Whizz the icing sugar and ground almonds in a food processor to a very fine mixture, then sift into a bowl. 

In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt to soft peaks, then gradually whisk in the caster sugar until thick and glossy. (At this point you can stir in flavour extract, such as peppermint or lemon, and corresponding colouring such as blue or yellow, to your meringue mixture, depending on what kind of macaroons you want – see chef's tip. Or divide the meringue among different bowls if you want to make more than one colour.) 

Fold half the almond and icing sugar mixture into the meringue and mix well. Add the remaining half, making sure you use a spatula to cut and fold the mixture until it is shiny and has a thick, ribbon-like consistency as it falls from the spatula. Spoon into a piping bag fitted with a 1cm plain nozzle. 

Line 2 baking sheets with baking paper. Pipe small rounds of the macaroon mixture, about 3cm across, onto the baking sheets. Give the baking sheets a sharp tap on the work surface to ensure a good ‘foot’. Leave to stand at room temperature for 10-15 minutes to form a slight skin. This is important – you should be able to touch them lightly without any mixture sticking to your finger. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool. 




25 Mar 2011

Grand Day Out

At last, the clouds are gone and the sun is shining in Newcastle! To celebrate Kris and I dragged our neglected bikes from the shed and dusted them off ready for their first outing of 2011.  I'm sad to say my basket perished in that horrid, spider ridden little hut but worry not, a new one is on order!


After twenty minutes of trying to fit the bikes into the car we were on our way to The Derwent Walk in Rowlands Gill, a lovely little cycle train littered with lakes, swans and lush forests.


I jumped on my bike and after a bit of a wobbly start I started thinking I'd forgotten how to ride. But just like the old saying goes, I quickly found my balance and started riding as fast as I could over the wonky trails.  I forgot how much fun it was to speed through the country side, wind in your hair without a care in the world.  I'll be spending a whole lot of my summer on my little rust bucket :)


We stopped for a picnic of sushi and fruit provided by Marks and Spencers before having a hike around this adorable little waterfall. So cute until I almost fell in.


Eventually, Kris' lack of gears on his BMX got the better of us and we loaded the bikes back into the car, off in search of the perfect cup of tea!  We decided upon Stewart and Co which is situated in the Newcastle City Library.  Anywhere that serves Ringtons Tea is A OK with me.


The selection of cakes on offer was outstanding.  I'm a huge fan of veggies in cakes and Stewart and Co certainly deliver!  I sampled the parsnip and lime cake while Kris tried out the beetroot chocolate all washed down with a cup of Ringtons! Delicious!


I would recommend Stewart and Co but I'm still searching for that perfect cup of tea and slice of cake in Newcastle.

Got any recommendations?

20 Mar 2011

Hotel Chocolat Giveaway!

Yep, I'm yet again offering you beautiful people the chance to win an extra special, extra delicious gift from Hotel Chocolat!  This time it comes in the form of the super tasty Your Eggsellency Extra Thick Easter Egg!  But this is not your bog standard Easter egg, you won't find a horrid little bag of cheap chocolate coins rattling around inside of this baby! Oh no, no jelly beans, no smarties and no tasteless chocolate footballs, instead you'll find a selection of decadently flavoured truffles including amaretto, champagne and apricot brandy!


Fancy your chances of winning this beautiful specimen of holiday confectionery? All you have to do it:

  • Be a follower of Katiecakes! Leave me a comment letting me know!
  • Comment on this post telling me your favorite chocolaty Easter memory.
  • Tweet about this giveaway and leave me a comment letting me know.

Competition will close Sunday March 27th at 9pm!  

Good luck, dear readers!

For an eggstra chuckle (see what I did there) why not enter this fun little contest via the Hotel Chocolat Facebook Page.  Name their new baby Easter egg for a chance to win a chocolate lovers hamper worth £75!  I've entered, now its your turn...

11 Mar 2011

Spiced Apple Cake with Maple Syrup

Have I told you I really dislike apples? Well I do, there is just far too much effort involved in eating an apple, I'd much rather put my time into peeling an orange or stoning cherries then coring and chopping an apple.  Although, if you cook an apple in sugar and butter before adding it to an all American apple pie or a quintessentially British crumble I'm all yours.  In short, raw apples bad, cooked apples good!


After pancake day left me with another small glut of apples I thought I'd better put them to good use before they were cast into the bin, bruised and wrinkled.  I sat down with a cup of tea and my monthly pile of foodie magazines looking for inspiration.  Thankfully, my copy of Delicious came up trumps when I came across an article containing this spiced apple cake from Baking Made Easy's Lorraine Pascale. It has everything I look for in an apple based dessert, apples stewed in butter and sugar, a deeply flavoured cake and, one of my favorites, maple syrup! I set about making it my own!


Spiced Apple Cake with Maple Syrup

Ingredients:

200g unsalted butter
40g golden caster sugar
3 pink lady apples, cored, peeled and sliced
1tsp ground ginger
1tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1tsp ground cinnamon
250g light brown sugar
2 large, free range eggs
1tsp vanilla extract
220g self raising flour
1tsp baking powder
Good glug of maple syrup!

Method:

Preheat the oven to 160C / 140C Fan. Melt 50g of butter with the golden caster sugar in a large, heavy bottomed frying pan until the mixture starts to caramelise and turn golden.  Add the sliced apple, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg and continue to cook for a further 5 minutes, shaking the pan from time to time.  Remove from heat and set aside.

Sift together the flour and baking powder and set aside.

Grease a 20cm cake tin with a loose base and line the bottom with baking parchment.  Cream together the remaining butter and sugar until light and creamy.  Add the eggs one at a time, beating for a few minutes between each addition.  Add the vanilla and 1tbsp of the maple syrup.

add the flour mixture and mix well to combine, then stir through the apples being careful not to break them up.  Spoon the cake batter into the prepared tin and bake for 50-60 minutes until a cake skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.  Remove from the oven and prick the cake all over with a toothpick before pouring over the remaining maple syrup.


2 Mar 2011

Lavender Shortbread

During a recent visit to Northallerton for my Betty's Cauliflower Cake fix I discovered the most amazing Deli, Lewis and Cooper. Among the fabulous treats I piled into my basket was a tiny jar of edible lavender.  I've been searching local foodie hotspots for this delicious grandma inspired treat for months so I was ecstatic to finally bring my search to an end.



After some deliberation I decided to turn my delicate dried buds into the lavender scented shortbread from one of my most favoured cookbooks Eat Me.



To give them a more delicate flavour I decided to grind the lavender buds with the sugar rather than chopping them. I felt a scent of the flower would be better than having to pick the buds out of your teeth.


Lavender Scented Cookies

Ingredients:

110g unsalted butter
55g caster sugar
170g plain flour
1tsp dried edible lavender or 2tbs of fresh - roughly chopped

Method:

Preheat oven to 200C and grease a large baking sheet.

Cream together the butter and sugar till pale and fluffy. Stir in the flour and lavender and bring together in a soft ball.  Wrap in cingfilm and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface. Using a pretty cutter, stamp out biscuits reroling the scraps when necessary. Place on the baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for around 10 minutes or until lightly golden.

Leave the biscuits on the baking sheet to cool for 5 minutes before transfering to a wire rack.

Once cooled, I dipped the biscuits in lavender chocolate and dusted the with some pretty pink sprinkes.  Enjoy with a cup of earl grey tea.



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