Worlds biggest coffee morning

Today offices around the UK forgot about their diets and stuffed themselves with cake all in aid of MacMillan Cancer support and their Worlds Biggest Coffee morning fundraising event.

Any excuse for a bit of baking and this was no exception – I wanted to do something different for my office so moved away from my fairly standard cupcakes and made Salted Caramel Millionaires Slices.

Or in other words, a heart attack in a slice! 

Recipe came courtesy of Simon Rimmer on BBC2s ‘Something for the Weekend’ (old programme I know) 



  • 175g butter
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 1 vanilla pod seeds
  • 225g plain flour


  • 200g butter
  • 1 x 397g can condensed milk
  • 4 tbsp golden syrup
  • 1 tsp salt


  • 350g milk chocolate


  1. Preheat oven to 180/350/Gas 4 and grease and line 20cm square cake tin
  2. Rub butter sugar flour and vanilla together to make rough dough and press into tin. Prick all over with a fork. 
  3. Bake for 5 mins then reduce temp to 150/300/Gas 2 and bake for further 35 mins.
  4. Leave to cool in tin
  5. Place caramel ingredients in saucepan, bring to boil then boil for 10 mins
  6. Spread over biscuit and allow to cool until just hard
  7. Melt chocolate in Bain Marie and pour over caramel
  8. Leave to set in fridge. Once thoroughly cooked, remove from tin and cut into squares 

Went down a treat! 



Valentine’s Cup cakes

Well, there not pink, red or covered in hearts, but they are pretty indulgent, and everyone loves chocolate!


A combination of both simple vanilla and chocolate cupcake recipes from the hummingbird bakery, iced with vanilla or chocolate icing and topped with Oreo cookies or White choc chunks!

Chocolate cup cakes topped with vanilla frosting and Oreo cookies, vanilla cupcakes topped with chocolate frosting and white chocolate chunks!

Vanilla cupcakes
120g plain flour
140g caster sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
40g unsalted butter
120ml milk
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
(Makes 12)

Chocolate cupcakes
100g plain flour
40g Cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
40g unsalted butter
120ml milk
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
(Makes 12)

Vanilla frosting
250g icing sugar sifted
80g unsalted butter
25ml milk
A couple of drops of vanilla extract
(Enough for 12 cupcakes)

Chocolate frosting
300g icing sugar sifted
100g unsalted butter
40g sifted cocoa powder
40ml milk
(Enough for 12 cupcakes)

Cupcake method
1. Put all dry ingredients in mixer and mix to create a sandy consistency
2. Gradually add half the milk until just incorporated
3. Beat egg, remaining milk and vanilla essence
4. Pour into main mixture and continue to beat until just smooth. Do not over mix.
5. Pour into cupcake cases and bake in preheated oven (170/325/gas 3) for 20-25 mins until springy
6. Allow to cool then decorate.

Icing method
1. Beat dry ingredients with butter until mixture comes together and is well mixed.
2. Combine wet ingredients in separate bowl then gradually add to main mixture.
3. Beat until light and fluffy – around 5 minutes. The longer you beat it the fluffier and lighter it becomes!


Another Theo dish

My partner decided that 2015 is going to be the year when he cooks for me at least once a week.

The first attempt was last night – not entirely done alone, but a tasty and great start – Chilli Crab with Parpadelle (although we had linguine)

A little bit of a faff for a week night dinner, but tasty none-the-less.2015/01/img_2071.jpg


  • Olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves finely sliced
  • 400g ripe plum tomatoes – peeled, de-seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 fennel bulb, finely diced
  • 300g fresh pasta
  • 1 green chilli – de-seeded and finely chopped
  • 300g fresh crabmeat (this is A LOT of crabmeat – I used a 100g pot from Seafood and Eat It)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley
  • A squeeze of lemon
  • Freshly ground pepper


  1. Heat some oil in a frying pan, add half the garlic and cook until softened. Add tomatoes and cook on high heat for 5 -7 minutes until sauce has thickened. Take off heat and set aside.
  2. Add the fennel and pasta to a pot of boiling water and cook for 3-4 mins until pasta is al dente.
  3. Meanwhile heat the remaining oil in a frying pan and fry the garlic, chilli and crabmeat and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the tomato sauce and chopped parsley.
  4. Drain the pasta and fennel and add to tomato sauce. Cook for a further 2 minutes, then serve seasoned with a squeeze of lemon juice and a crack of black pepper.



Burger and Lobster

A restaurant that literally does what it says on the sign!

Not sure of its origins but they are popping up with more and more frequency (in London anyway) and have brought lobster to the masses – I’d never eaten lobster prior to my first visit (to the Soho branch) and now I count it amongst my favourite meals!

For those unfamiliar to B&L they have a simple menu, burger or lobster (with options for cooking) with chips and salad. From now on I’m going to ignore the burger, not sure if it’s any good but when would I choose a burger when I can have lobster?! Particularly when it costs the same!

So it’s a 1 1/2lb lobster that’s steamed or grilled or served in a toasted brioche roll with a Japanese mayonnaise, or if you’re feeling piggy (or with a group of friends) you can buy a larger lobster from the catch of the day…

This is last nights 6lb delight…


I doubt it’ll be long before I’m back for more…


New Years resolutions…

So in addition to the ‘go to gym more’ ‘eat more healthily’ ‘save more money’ resolutions that I seem to make every year, this year I am determined to achieve the ‘eat more healthily’ one so I’m adding ‘try a new recipe at least once a week’ to the list…

Not sure how successful I’ll be once the full steam of work starts again…

But at least in going to try – I’ll keep you posted!



Pasteis de nata

In most situations my dad eats incredibly healthily – he has very high blood cholesterol so alongside the medication he’s prescribed he tries to manage it through avoiding excessive fat consumption. The one thing that he seems incapable of resisting is Pasteis – Portuguese egg tartlets – a kind of creme brûlée in pastry.

When I was given this book for Christmas containing a recipe for mini Pasteis, I thought – why not make them!

So I have!




Pastry case
1 tbsp caster sugar
2 x 25cm squares pre-rolled puff pastry
Plain flour (for dusting)

Egg custard
3 egg yolks
75g caster sugar
1/2 tbsp custard powder
100ml milk
80ml cream (I used Elmlea)
1 vanilla bean or a couple of tsp vanilla extract

1 – Preheat oven to 200c and lightly grease muffin tin

2 – Sprinkle 1/2 tbsp sugar on work surface. Place one pastry sheet on it, cut in half and place one half on top of the other. Roll from short end to create a log. Wrap in cling film and refrigerate. Repeat with other sheet.

3 – Cut each log into 1 thick pieces. Lightly Flour work surface then roll into rounds. Press round into muffin tin, thoroughly prick the base then refrigerate.

4 – Put egg yolks sugar and custard powder in saucepan and whisk together. Gradually add cream and milk. Once smooth add vanilla then heat, stirring continuously until mixture comes to boil and thickens.

5 – Transfer custard to a bowl, cover with cling film (so it doesn’t form a skin) and allow to cool.

6 – Transfer custard into pastry cases and cook for 15/20 mins until golden.

7 – Allow to cool for 5 mins in tins the completely on cooling rack.



90th birthday celebrations

In July 2014 my grandmother turned 90 and hosted a garden party to celebrate the occasion… My contribution to the festivities was a birthday cake.

I decided to make shaped cakes (something I’ve not done before) but opted for the slightly easier option of shaped cake tins rather than cutting to shape.

I bought a 9 and a 0 – rather underestimating the size of the tins and ended up with these monsters…


The first challenge was working out the mixture volume which I did by guess work (way too much the first time) and then deciding on how I’d flavour them.

Rather than a Madeira recipe I opted for a standard sponge recipe (equal quantities of egg, flour, butter and sugar) and made one vanilla and one lemon.

Each tin had 10 eggs and the corresponding ingredients – mixed in 2 batches as my mixer couldn’t manage it all! And then decorated with sugar paste flowers.

It was well received by the birthday girl and all the guests (plus all the residents of her apartment block 2 days later!) 🙂