Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Alphabakes: "L" Round Up

Welcome to the first AlphaBakes round up. Thank you to everyone who participated in this challenge with us. We have had a whopping thirty-three entries which have far exceeded our expectations! Clearly the letter "L" has inspired lots of you to bake with us. I loved looking at all your lovely, luscious and lavish entries. There were a lot of lemon entries as expected but also some slightly more unusual "L"s. 

Make sure you check out Caroline's blog on 1st March to see what the random letter for March is. 

So without further ado, in the order that they came in, here are all the "L" entries for the month....

First up are these gorgeous Lamingtons from Homemade by Fleur. Fleur had an exciting day filming Baking Mad with Eric Lanlard the day before she made these little beauties. Can't wait to see the episode :) 

Next is Nelly from Nelly's Cupcakes with mini lemon meringue tarts. Lemon meringue pie was actually her first ever post on her blog. I love the mini versions - they look so cute! 

Next is Sarah from Sarah Bakes with her mini cupcake Lamingtons - clearly there's a theme here with lamingtons and minis :) These were made for Australia Day which is celebrated on Jan 26th. I love that she made them into a cupcake version. 

C from cakecrumbsandcooking entered this fabulous lemon buttermilk cake. A great cake to bake if you have some buttermilk in the fridge that needs to be used. 

Continuing with the lemon theme, we have some delightful lemon and poppyseed muffins from sugarcravingbaker. These remind her of her childhood where she used to visit her grandparents in Florida and had the best lemon and poppyseed muffins. I want to know the name of the bakery and if it's still there :) 
Our first savoury entry is from Zoe from Bake for Happy Kids with her Lemon Thyme and Potato Frittata. Her son loves picking the lemon thyme leaves and rubbing them on his hands and then asking her "Mummy, do you want to smell my hands?" awww... how cute :) 

More lemony goodness in the form of Lovely Lemon Cupcakes from Lottie's World of Cakes & Bakes. These were made to take to lectures as a thank you for reading her blog!! Can I please have one too as I have been reading your blog? They are lemon cupcakes with a lemon curd filling and a lemon cream cheese icing! You have to check out her beautiful two tone icing and apron!

Next is our very own Caroline's mum, Jacqueline who decided to join in our fun little challenge and sent us these gorgeous lemon curd butterfly cakes.  Clearly baking runs in the family! 

Next is a luscious lemon and blueberry loaf cake from cakeboule. Baked on a snowy day to warm her up they scream "come on spring already" For more amazing photos and to read about the tale of the secret world of swotchers click here 

If that last cake shouted spring, you are going to want to see this one which is sunshine in cake form - moist, buttery and very lemony. Phil from As Strong as Soup shared with us his Amalfi Lemon and Almond Cake, based on a recipe by Salvatore De Riso, the celebrated pastry chef and baker from the Amalfi coast.

Next is Kat from Life of a Cupcake Baker with her Lemon Meringue cake. Its a lemon cake with a lemon curd filling and lemon frosting topped with meringues. What's not to like? :)

Moving away from cakes we have these super cute lemony lemon biscuits from wildaboutbaking. I absolutely adore them and would feel bad eating one knowing the amount of work that has gone into decorating them... not that I would say no of course :)  

Next is a video from who made us a saucy lemon pudding. It's a brilliant video with a great soundtrack, do go and see it for yourself. 

Next is a lime and coconut cake from Turquoise Lemons. It has coconut milk and lime zest in the cake and a lovely lime/lemon drizzle which looks so tempting!

For something completely different, check out these Liquorice Allsorts Cupcakes by Liv a Little Bakery These cupcakes are made with melted liquorice and then shaped to look like liquorice allsorts!! How cool is that? 

Back to lemons with lemon cupcakes from Corina from Searching for Spice. She got a set of icing nozzles and a piping bag for Christmas and has put them to good use here. 

Next we have Lemon Poppyseed cupcakes with Almond icing from CAKEfyi Don't you just love the flecks of poppyseeds? There really is something about those little black spots that make you fall in love :) 

Speaking of love, how about some Lemon Love Cakes from Janice from Farmersgirl Kitchen? They look absolutely lovely especially with the little hearts on top. 

Love is still in the air as my own entry are these Lemon and Raspberry Heart cakes. I used a whole lemon for the cake and added yoghurt for moisture.

When I told my mum about our challenge and that Caroline's mum had baked something, she immediately wanted to bake something and came up with not one but two amazing entries for us! Obviously I am biased but I am well impressed with mum's creativity. First up is a Lemongrass, Lemon and ginger bundt cake

followed by a Lotus Butter Cake cut in the shape of an "L" :) Thank you mum! 

Next is Sue from A little bit of heaven on a plate with her lovely lemon & lavender meringues. These are part of a Valentine's afternoon tea which also inlcudes rose & violet cupcakes, almond sugar biscuits and tiny sugar biscuits dipped in white chocolate. I'd like to have one of everything on that table :) 

Shelley @thecakebug sent us a lemon drizzle cake which is a Tana Ramsey recipe. She says its extremely easy and tastes lush especially warm and with a cup of tea!

My partner in crime Caroline from Caroline Makes delights us with this low fat slimmers' lemon cheesecake, perfect for if you are watching the calories but still want a treat. It's made from quark and fat free Greek yoghurt.

L is for... LOVE according to Choclette from Chocolate Log Blog who has entered these chocolate hazelnut cake truffles topped with love hearts! Leftover cake is an unknown phenomenon where I am but I would love to give these a try. 

Next up Karen from Lavender and Lovage impresses us with her homemade Lemon and Ginger Marmalade. A perfect way to use up a surfeit of lemons :) Tested immediately on a warm buttered bread bun - doesn't it make you want to reach into the screen for that slice?

Karen's second entry is not strictly a bake but I couldn't resist adding it in as she made this amazing Wild garlic, Lemon and Lovage soup. Perfect for these cold, winter months and it had 2 "L"'s in the name! I have to admit I didn't know much about lovage before but I do now after reading her informative post on her favourite herb, lovage. 

Another unique "L" comes from i-Lost in Austen who made this beautiful Lychee and Champagne Macaron. A huge Jane Austen fan, you get delicious bakes, Jane Austen quotes and music when you visit! 

My second entry for this month is Lavender Shortbread - buttery and crumbly with the subtle flavour of lavender. 

Not to be outdone, a second entry by my co-host Caroline from Caroline Makes are limoncello macarons. Caroline and I recently attended a macaron class which you can read about here. I have not been brave enough to attempt them myself so bravo Caroline, you should definitely be proud of yourself :) 

Next a stunning entry from lauralovescakes with her Lychee, Rose and Raspberry mousse cake. A true labour of love which took several hours to make but I'm sure that you will agree that it's worth it!

Daisy@Nevertoosweet wows us with her lemon scones which are inspired by afternoon tea at Alice Tea Cups in New York which you can read about here. She made a lovely lemon glaze to drizzle over the scones making them irresistible in my book :)

Last but not least is Claire from The Pursuit of Domestic Goddess-ness with her lemon drizzle traybake. A fail-safe Mary Berry recipe, it looks absolutely divine! You would not believe it's her first time making a lemon drizzle traybake.

So there you have it, a virtual treasure trove of "L" bakes (and soup). A huge heartfelt thank you to everyone who joined in, we are overjoyed at the positive response and hope you will continue baking with us throughout the year. 
Please make sure you check out Caroline's blog on 1st March to find out what letter we are baking with next. 

PS: Apologies if I have made any errors or left anyone out - please email me and I will edit as soon as I can. I am currently on a road trip in California so internet access is a bit hit and miss.

Monday, 27 February 2012

Secret Recipe Club: Oatmeal, M&M and Peanut Butter cookies

It's time for another secret recipe reveal day! The secret recipe club was started by Amanda from Amanda's Cookin' It has become very popular and there is currently a waiting list to join! I am in Group D and will be blogging a secret recipe post at the end of each month. The idea is simple - each month you are assigned a blog which you keep secret hence the name and make a recipe from that blog. Someone else will have your blog too. All posts are revealed at the same time on a set date. As Amanda says, its a fun way to discover new blogs, make new friends and step outside of our comfort zones.

This month, I have been assigned lifeandkitchen as my secret blog and I absolutely love it. There are so many recipes there that appeal to me particularly the baker in me :) I have to admit I'm always slightly worried that I will be assigned a blog that has no baking in it but have not come across that yet. There is a clear recipe index on her blog with gorgeous photos for each post.  The recipes are easy to follow and I've already bookmarked a few other recipes to try. 
For this challenge I chose these oatmeal, M&M and peanut butter cookies - I don't think you even need to ask why if you are a frequent visitor to my blog! Coincidentally, I chose peanut butter chip pillows for my first secret recipe post. Do you see a trend here? :) 

 I decided to use peanut M&Ms for extra nuttiness :) 

 love the colour of the M&Ms 

Recipe adapted from lifeandkitchen

225g butter
100g brown sugar
90g caster sugar
390g peanut butter
2 eggs
185g flour
2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
135g oats
185g peanut M&Ms

  • Preheat the oven to 180C.
  • Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. 
  • Cream the butter and sugars until light and fluffy.
  • Add in the peanut butter and then the eggs, one at a time. 
  • Stir in the flour, baking soda, salt and oats.
  • Finally, add the m&m's.
  • Scoop small scoops of cookie dough on to the baking sheet spaced apart.
  • Bake for approximately 10 minutes until golden brown. 

Friday, 24 February 2012

Blog Holiday

Just a little note to let you know that my blog will be taking a short break as I am going to San Francisco/LA/Las Vegas!! 

I have a scheduled post for Mon 27th Feb so feel free to drop by and check it out.

For the AlphaBakes participants, a round up will be posted after the 25th Feb depending on my internet connection. I've already prepared the post and will add in any additions from now until the deadline.  Please make sure you email me your entry as I will have limited access to edit posts for the next 2 weeks. 

Apologies in advance if I am slow to reply to comments, emails or tweets. I still appreciate them all! 

Normal services will resume mid-March. See you all then :) 

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Cheese, tomato and herb twists

Following the success of my chocolate and cheese twists, I decided to make some more traditional cheese, tomato and herb twists. They are really easy to make and are quite addictive to eat! They are great as party foods or a snack. Best eaten fresh from the oven but still tasted good the next day. The smell of the cheese and herbs are amazing. You can make so many different variations - bacon and cheese, bacon cheese & tomato, ham and cheese, tomato and basil ..... whatever you fancy! 

If you live in the UK, Jus Rol pastry are offering a free Le Creuset stoneware dish with 4 tokens (1 pack = 1 token) plus p&p. A pretty good deal so I thought I'd share it with you (I have not been paid by them in any way, I just wanted to share the news in case you were interested) So this is my second roll of puff pastry, look out for at least 2 more recipes featuring puff or shortcrust pastry! 

I am entering these to Herbs on Saturday hosted by Karen from Lavender and Lovage

 roll out a sheet of puff pastry. Brush beaten egg on one side, turn it over and spread tomato puree on top as shown. 

 sprinkle liberally with grated cheese 

 add dried herbs and a little bit of cracked black pepper 

 slice into strips 

 twist and bake according to the packet instructions