Brownie points

Last weekend was my boyfriends mums birthday – so what better way to earn some brownie points than to bake a cake (she has 2 sons so homemade birthday cakes I would imagine have been something of a rarity)

I opted for the Brooklyn Blackout Cake – from the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook – which is a very chocolately 3 layered cake.

A sponge recipe that I am not familar with (I tend to opt for the standard victoria sponge 2 oz of flour, butter and sugar to every egg) I guess it was slightly risky when cooking for someone for the first time!!

The mixture was suprisingly runny, and didn’t rise as much as a normal sponge but when I took them out of the oven, they were light and airy.

The topping/filling was a very thick chocolate custard, which needed to be cooked and then cooled – and the recipe made far far more than was necessary to fill and coat the cake.

The most difficult part of this recipe was definitley decorating the finished cake with cake crumbs – still not sure on the ‘official’ way of doing this but it looked good in the end (albeit like a very large truffle!)

The cake went down well, and despite the sponge being a little dry, the chocolate custard more than compensated!

Top tip is to serve at room temperature as opposed to straight out of the fridge!

100g unsalted butter (room temp)
260g caster sugar
2 eggs
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
45g cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon bicarb of soda
170g plain flour
160ml whole milk

(chocolate custard)
500g caster sugar
1 tablespoon golden syrup
125g cocoa powder
200g cornflour
85g unsalted butter, cubed
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 x 20cm cake tins base lined with greaseproof paper

Preheat the oven to 170c (325f) gas 3

Mix the butter and sugar together untol light and fluffy.
Add the eggs one at a time, ensuring all the ingredients are fully combined.
Add the vanilla extract, cocoa powder, baking powder and bicarb of soda until well mixed.
Add half the flour, then all the milk and finish with the remaining flour.
Mix until everything is well combined.
Pour mixture into the 3 tins, smooth with a palette knife and bake in preheated oven for 25-30 mins.
Leave to cool slightly in the tins before turning out onto wire cooling racks to cool completely.

Choc custard
Put the sugar, golden syrup, cocoa powder and 600ml water into a large saucepan and bring to the boil over a medium heat, whisking occasionally.
Mix the cornflour with 120-200ml water whisking briskly as you add the water. The mixture should be the consistency of thick glue (if it is thicker than this, add extra water up to a total of 250ml)
Whisk gradually into the cocoa mixture in the pan over medium (not high) heat. Bring back to the boil, whisking constantly. Cook, whisking constantly, for a few minutes, until quite thick.
Remove from the heat and stir in the butter and vanilla extract. Pour into a bowl, cover with clingfilm and chill until very firm.
Slice a thin layer off one cake and put in a food processor. Process into fine crumbs.
Put one cake on a cake stand and spread one quarter of the customer over it. Place a second cake on top and spread another quarter of the custard over it. Top with the last cake and spread the remaining custard over the top and sides. Cover with the crumbs and chill for 2 hours.


I like risotto with my wine…

Earlier this week, on my way home from work, I decided that risotto was the way forward for my dinner – had some leftover chorizo in the fridge and as chorizo risotto is one of my favourites I was pretty happy.

In getting the ingredients together I realised the half (mini) bottle of red wine I thought I had left was not actually there (after racking my brains I remembered I had randomly added it to a cottage pie I made). So the big decision was, do I choose something else for dinner, or do I make the risotto with no wine…?

Risotto, no risotto, do I really need the wine? I really need the wine!… it took me a good 10 mins to actually make a decision (and I even considered using champagne because bizarrely that was the only wine I had!) and in the end I thought, why not, go ahead anyway and make the risotto with no wine…

That was a mistake…risotto with no wine just doesn’t taste as good! The moral of this story is – always make sure you have wine in the house! (and never make risotto without it!)

Chorizo risotto for 2
1 x onion finely diced
1 x red chilli chopped
1 x red pepper
2 (cloves of garlic chopped or pressed
150g of risotto rice per person
Glass of red wine
1.25 ish pints of vegetable stock
100g diced Chorizo

Heat some oil in a wok
Fry the onions, garlic, chilli and pepper until softened
Keep high heat and add the risotto rice and ensure all grains are covered with oil
When the rice starts to look translucent (a minute or 2) add in the glass of wine – stir until the wine is aborbed.
Add the stock in a ladle at a time – mixing after you add each ladle until the liquid has been absorbed – this normally takes about 10-15 mins. As you get towards the end of the stock taste the rice to check if it is cooked enough – you may not need all the stock or you may need to add more (if I need more I just add some hot water)
Stir in diced chorizo
Once it is all absorbed and it’s cooked enough leave to sit for a minute or 2.



I love food – be it eating it or making it, and I particularly love the feeling I get when friends, family and colleagues eat and enjoy my food. Over the last couple of years, I have become increasingly reliant on my friends for interesting recipe ideas, and I love the idea of being able to share the recipes I find and love with everyone else!

Hopefully this blog will give people inspiration to try something they have never cooked before, or experiment with the recipes they have made time and time again! If you see something you have cooked and have made better with your own twist i’d love to know!