Easy pancake recipe

Pepperoni and cheese pancake by Naomi Longworth
I decided to make pancakes a night early so here is the Delia recipe on the BBC Good Food website I used last night and some pics to give you some inspiration for different flavours. I can highly recommend cheddar cheese, pepperoni or salami slices with an accompanying salad and sunblushed tomatoes. For dessert, try blueberries, raspberries drizzled with loads of maple syrup. YUM! Delia gives a tip about sieving the flour high above the bowl. Definitely do this because it helps not to get lumps. I actually managed to get a really good consistency for the batter by doing this. Good luck tonight folks! In terms of how well I fared at flipping pancakes – I cut one pancake in half and hit the pan on the back wall  – whoops! and the first pancake I flipped ended up in the pan as a folded mess! Am clearly going to have to practise before next year! Oh and if you want to know what is the difference between a pancake and a crepe then read my post here or if you want to see my mini pancakes based on a Gordon Ramsay recipe click moi.

Raspberry, blueberry and maple syrup pancake

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Mince pie recipe reviews: Delia vs BBC Good Food

shortcrust pastry recipe Now this isn’t the strictest of tests because my boyfriend made the first batch of mince pies last week and I made the second batch last night. We put to the test this BBC Good Food recipe and the tried and tested Delia Smith recipe from her famous cookery book. Both of us were unarmed with a rolling pin but last night I had a wine bottle spare so wrapped it in cling film to roll out the pastry nice and thin.

The main difference between these mince pies is the pastry – the Good Food one uses a sweet pastry but it did lack structure and actually rose and bubbled a bit (looking back this could be because the beaten egg was missing from the pastry). Delia’s recipe uses shortcrust pastry and this was much flakier but with a decent structure. Although the Good Food ones were crumbly, they tasted delicious but perhaps too sweet with the mincemeat. The Delia pastry didn’t have any sugar in it so I’d say the balance was a little better.

The only comment my boyfriend made about the mince pies I baked was that they were very small! He just ate a larger quantity to make up for the mini mince pies though and they seemed to go down well with my temporary housemate too! The Delia recipe says to use 3 and 2.5 inch cutters but I’d actually suggest making these with 4 and 3 inch cutters instead. Do you have a tried and tested recipe which you bring out each year? If so, let me know!

Alternative Christmas cake ideas – Part II – Christmas tree cake

M&S Christmas tree cake mouldAs I mentioned in my post last week, there are lots of fun things you can do which are an alternative to the traditional Christmas cake and here is one of them. On Sunday night, I tried out the Marks and Spencer Christmas tree baking mould and it worked out very well! It doesn’t give any instructions on what volume of cake mixture to make so I experimented and here are my tips! The mould isn’t as big as it looks so I used Delia’s classic Victoria sponge recipe with cocoa powder for two 7 inch cake tins. This was the right amount of mixture. It’s a classic 4oz recipe – self raising flour, marg, caster sugar, tsp of baking powder, 2 large free range eggs. To change it from a Victoria sponge cake recipe I added 1 tbsp of cocoa powder and don’t add any vanilla essence. For the icing I used 15g of butter, 2 tbsp of water, 125g of icing sugar and 50g of melted dark Bournville chocolate. This was enough icing for the whole cake. And the verdict? Personally, I thought the sponge needed to be more chocolatey so I would recommend making the sponge with dark melted chocolate rather than cocoa powder (this is the method my Gran uses). The icing was sweet and chocolatey so that seemed to hit the spot. I then added mini smarties for the baubles or you could use ‘dragees’ which are little silver baubles. You can them here from the Cakes, Cookies & Crafts website. And if you want tinsel you could use edible glitter! Oh and if you want to bake mini Christmas tree cakes, M&S have a mould for that too! This is a great one to make with and for the kids and you can personalise it any way you want!

Cracked pepper and figgy bread recipe review

A slight departure from cake for this week…At the weekend, I made bread for the first time with my friend and it was much easier than I thought it would be! It’s also pretty quick and cheap to make. This recipe was fun to bake and something a bit different as it’s savoury and sweet. It goes incredibly well with cheeses like St Agur, Wensleydale and cranberries and mature cheddar. This is the recipe my friend chose from the BBC Good Food website. All you need is strong flour for bread, a bit of fast action yeast, some decent olive oil, pepper and salt, chopped dried figs and a very large bowl for the bread to rise in. The kneading is a great stress buster/bicep workout too!


First up, put your salt, pepper, yeast and flour in a bowl. Add your olive oil. Work into a dough. 400-425ml of water is about right to get the mixture to form a smooth dough. According to Delia, the water should be hot for your little finger if you dip it in. Our water was a bit colder than that but I read the Delia ‘bible‘ later on. Then you need to leave the dough to rise for an hour in a warm place. Our kitchen was warm already and we wanted to pop out so we didn’t put it by the radiator. We left our bread to rise for two hours whilst we grabbed a coffee in Wimbledon Village and watched the perfectly coiffured pedigree pooches walk by! There’s a surprising number of them!

When we got home, our bread had doubled in size and we were ready to knead in the dried figs. I’d actually use less than 350g of figs, 250g seemed enough to us. Leave it to rise for another 10-15 mins and sprinkle with a bit of flour before putting in the oven. Don’t put it too high in the oven but I would recommend baking for 45-50 mins (or atleast in a fan oven like mine). We only baked ours for 45mins and it wasn’t quite enough.

Figgy bread with St Agur and Cheddar cheeseTo check it’s done, knock on the bottom and see if it sounds hollow. If not, give it another 5mins in the oven. Serve warm with yummy cheese and grapes like we did! I tested the bread out on my colleagues this afternoon and with some Yorkshire Wensleydale cheese, it went down a treat! Try it for yourselves!

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