This recipe is from Frances Quinns ‘Quinntessential Baking’ cookbook. You may recognise her name because she won The Great British Bake Off in 2013 and always presented her bakes in unique, clever ways!
Her book is filled with great bakes and amazing presentation/decorating ideas. This is the first thing I have baked from her book and the cakes turned out so well! They came out so light and fluffy; I haven’t baked cupcakes this well in a long time!
Now enough talk, let’s get started!
50g butter, softened
50g caster sugar
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
1 egg (at room temperature)
50g self-raising flour
1 tbsp ground almonds (I didn’t use this so I added an extra tbsp of flour)
1 tbsp lemon juice
Fried Eggs Icing
50g icing sugar
1/2 tbsp lemon juice
1-2 tbsp of warm water
25g Orange curd
The cheat way: If you don’t want to make the fried eggs yourself you can always use fried eggs from Haribo, and secure them on top with a little bit of icing underneath.
You will need:
Large mixing bowl
Electric whisk (optional – I didn’t use one – helped get rid of the bingo wings)
24-hole mini-muffin tin (or just any muffin tin – as you will see in my photos I used a baking tray as I have lost my cupcake tin, but it still worked well)
Egg boxes, to present the cakes in (optional)
Preheat the oven to 180.c/160.c fan/gas 4. Line the cake tin (or tray) with the cake cases.
2. Using a hand-held electric whisk (or a spoon) beat the butter and sugar together for 5-10 minutes until light and fluffy. Add the lemon zest and beat it in.
3. Break the egg into a mug or jug and beat with a fork. Gradually add the eggs to the creamed butter and sugar mixture.
4. Sift the flour and add gradually to the mixture, and gently fold in. Add the lemon juice and gently stir in.
5. Spoon the mixture into the cake cases. Make sure you don’t put too much mixture in the cases, and try and make sure they all have an equal amount of cake mixture.
6. Bake for 10-12 minutes until the cakes are lightly golden brown and a skewer or knife into the centre comes out clean. Leave the cakes to cool for 5 minutes and then transfer them to a cooling rack.
7. Sift the icing sugar into a bowl and stir in the lemon juice. Add a tablespoon or two of warm water and stir until you have a smooth, thick paste.
8. With two teaspoons, carefully spoon a small amount of icing onto each cake. Frances’ recommends using a wooden latter stirrer, but I used an icing tool to shape the icing. If you don’t have either, use a mini spatula or the end of a spoon to shape the icing on the cake. You don’t want the icing to be a perfect circle so ice them a little off centre.
9. Now to add the yolk! I used a piping bag and a small nozzle for this and carefully piped a small circle of orange curd on top. Again, if you don’t have some of the tools Frances or I used, use the end of a teaspoon (with a thin handle) to dot the curd on top. Then leave to set.
TA-DAAAH! Little fried egg cakes, don’t they look adorable!
I placed the cakes in an egg box, one of Frances’ great ideas! Perfect for presenting them and gifting them to a friend.
Ooo this is a naughty chocolatey Easter treat! I came up with the idea to use my normal tiffin/rockyroad recipe for this Easter creation. Perfect to make for Easter weekend and a fun thing to smash up and share with family and friends at the weekend. OR if you have a selection of Easter eggs left over after next weekend then why not melt down the chocolate and make this tiffin.
300g (2 large bars) Cadbury’s milk chocolate
Small pot of glace cherries
2-3 handfuls of mini marshmallows
2-3 handfuls of raisins
250g of chocolate digestive biscuits or plain digestive biscuits
One Shredded Wheat
You will need:
Plastic mixing bowl
Small-medium glass bowl
Plus any extra chocolate treats!
Break the digestive biscuits in a plastic mixing bowl. I used a sturdy mug to crush up the biscuits because I currently don’t have a rolling pin, but a rolling pin would be best.
2. Once you have crushed the biscuits up, leaving a few small chunks of biscuits, add the mini marshmallows and raisins (and cherries) and mix. I didn’t use cherries this time because my local shop didn’t have any, sad times! But I would definitely recommend using them!!
3. Melt the chocolate and pour into the mixture and stir it all together.
4. Tear off a piece of cling film to cover the inside of the glass bowl.
5. Spoon in the mixture into the glass bowl, a few spoonfuls at a time. Press it down in the bowl and up the sides (carefully, so the cling film doesn’t split). Start building the nest by placing more of the mixture on the sides of the bowl. Make the nest quite deep so you have enough room to put in your sweet treats once it has set in the fridge.
6. Break up one Shredded Wheat into a small bowl and sprinkle the cereal over the edges of the bowl and around the nest.
7. Place nest in the fridge for 1-2 hours.
8. Presenting it! Carefully loosen the cling film and pull the nest out, if it seems to heavy turn the bowl upside down and lift the bowl off the nest. Turn it over and place all your goodies inside the nest.
Once everyone has eaten all the treats inside the nest you can have some fun breaking the nest for everyone to share!
One of my favourite meals at the moment! I have always wanted to make my own risotto but thought it was too difficult or time-consuming for a quick meal, but it is actually very simple and easy to make!
Cooking Time: 20-25 minutes
1 onion, finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped/crushed
500ml hot vegetable stock
150g Arborio Risotto Rice
Small bottle of white wine
150g frozen peas
5 baby mushrooms
Dill or Parsley
3 tablespoons of creme fraiche
Other serving suggestions: poached salmon fillet, green beans, spinach.
Step 1: Melt the butter in a large saucepan, add the onion and garlic and cook for 5 minutes.
Step 2: Add the rice and stir into the butter. Make sure every grain of rice is covered with butter. Cook for 1 minute.
Now I have a confession to make, I completely forgot about the mushrooms at this point :/ I would usually add them in at this stage but I forgot. Instead, I put the chopped mushrooms into a small pan with a knob of butter and cooked them for 2-3 minutes before adding them to the risotto. (Silly me :/ just imagine I put the mushrooms in.)
Step 3: Add the wine and cook for 1 minute. Whilst this is cooking boil the kettle and mix the stock cube and water together in a measuring jug.
Step 4: Add the stock gradually, use ladle or large serving spoon. Add more stock once each amount of stock has been absorbed. Stir regularly.
Step 5: With the last amount of stock add the peas and lemon juice and stir. Sometimes I add an extra splash of white wine at this stage (not an alcoholic! I just really enjoy a wine taste in the risotto).
Step 6: Cook for another 4 minutes. This is the time to season and add the dill/parsley. Finally, take on the heat and add the 3 spoonfuls of creme fraiche and stir into the risotto.
Serve with smoked salmon, baby iceberg lettuce, cherry tomatoes and half a lemon
Or serve with a poached salmon fillet, green beans and spinach.
This tiny restaurant has a friendly family run feel. It may not have the most contemporary/modern decor, but it doesn’t matter, the food is amazing! If you are a pizza sauce lover like me, you will love it! Whenever we go there or get a takeaway, we always order the Arancini balls – delicious balls of rice, beef and pork ragu and a gooey mozzarella centre. I can guarantee any pizza you try here you will love!
I am not usually a fan of pizza crusts (I know, I’m like a child) but these pizzas have a thick but soft crust so I actually enjoy eating it. This is a sign of a good pizza in my eyes.
My favourite pizza is the Alla Norma pizza which has aubergine and ricotta cheese on top. I also like to add some parma ham to the pizza too.
You can add extra things to your pizza, for example, zucchini, meatballs, buffalo mozzarella, Neapolitan-style sausages, honey-roast ham, red peppers, mushrooms, gorgonzola and more.
Recommendations: any of the pizzas, including the Marinara (no cheese), it is delicious and has tons of flavour, arancini (traditional beef and pork ragu), polpette al sugo (pork & beef meatballs baked in a rich tomato sauce), hand cut potato fries.
A small restaurant with really attentive staff and absolute pros at cooking the perfect steak. I would like to add that this isn’t a casual place to wine and dine; we usually go for a special treat or birthday. I usually get a sirloin steak, cooked medium to well done, with their signature red wine glaze and served with their béarnaise sauce.
One thing I like about this restaurant is that the waitress understood exactly how I wanted my steak cooked, I like the taste of a pinker steak however I don’t like seeing blood ooze out! She said she would ask the chef to cook it ‘medium but no blood’ and when it arrived it was perfect! With our steaks, we usually add a side of dauphinoise potatoes and green beans. They also have a selection of classic main dishes too, one of the dishes I have my eyes on is the seabass fillets, edamame beans, asparagus and chive chardonnay beurre blanc. Mmm, yum!
This restaurant is located in a gorgeous renovated chapel and provides a broad range of dishes. Firstly, the interior is stunning, with a lot of seating and a few seating booths it is a great place for lunch and dinner. At the front of the chapel, there is a balcony that overlooks the main restaurant area, there are a few seats up there and a grand piano in the centre. I’m not sure if they get a pianist to play up there on special nights, but on our first visit to Aqua, we did witness a customer going up and playing a bit of piano. He was actually really good! We thought he was a professional playing for the evening but then realised he was a customer when his friends at another table started clapping at the end and he joined them for dinner.
The offer I was particularly attracted to in Aqua was the 2 for 1 offer on bellinis, before 7 pm.
I love this restaurant because it is was the first restaurant that got me to enjoy eating salads! I had the ‘Fig & Mozzarella Salad’ with pine nuts, and mixed leaf salad drizzled with a balsamic sauce. I would easily eat this salad as a main meal and I am not a salad person so that’s saying something! I wish I had a photo of this dish, it is always presented beautifully but every time it arrives at the table I just want to dive straight in.
The Hop Pole offers you just want you want from a pub menu, traditional dishes mixed with a few gourmet touches. This pub is part of the Bath Ale chain, offering ‘top-notch beers’ and uses some of the ales in their dishes. We are constantly going back to this pub for meals as it is only down the road. The Hop Pole is a great place for popping in for a drink and enjoying some yummy pub snacks, for example, they use to have handmade scotch eggs with a gooey centre.
Their menu changes seasonal but they always have some traditional classics on the menu.
Another great thing is that they occasionally have offers on, over the Winter months they had an a £10 pie and pint offer on every Tuesday.
Not only is this pub great for cold Wintery nights but it is the perfect place to hang out with friends in the summer, sitting out in their pub garden. We are now regulars and have got to know the staff really well, and we now feel at home there – especially as one of the barmen/waiters’ is my boyfriend’s best friend.
Recommendations: As I said their menu changes seasonally but here are a few of the gorgeous dishes I have enjoyed: free range chicken, leek & ham pie with parsley sauce, greens and mash, 28 day dry aged beef shin and ‘Dark Side’ ale suet pudding, dauphinoise potatoes, carrots, ‘Proper Chips’ their tripled cooked chips.
Another lovely small restaurant located on a quiet road just off the busy high-street. Sometimes it is nice to get away from the big chains and find a local restaurant like this one. They boast on their website that they are the only genuine rotisserie restaurant in the South West (not sure if that is true or not) but their rotisserie cooked chicken is great. They offer a delicious range of flame-roasted chicken, gourmet pizzas and seasonal dishes.
One of the dishes that stood out for me was the confit of duck with cheesy mash potato and runner beans. They still offer duck on the menu but not with the same sides. On my most recent visit, I tried one of their chicken dishes. The chicken is cooked to perfection, beautifully tender and succulent.
Recommendations: Prosciutto Ham stone baked pizza, lemon and herb rotisserie chicken with applewood smoked bacon, spring salad, Dijon tarragon aioli.