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Archive for May, 2010

Yep, posh stuff. A glorious afternoon tea experience at Kensington Palace. I’m not suggesting I was brushing shoulders with royalty, we were actually at The Orangery, a rather grand restaurant and tea room located in the grounds of Kensington Palace. So close enough.  Afternoon tea is served from 3pm, and they don’t take reservations, you just show up and join the queue. We got there at 2:45pm and we were seated at a lovely shaded outdoor table by 3pm.

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The May 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Cat of Little Miss Cupcake. Cat challenged everyone to make a piece montée, or croquembouche, based on recipes from Peter Kump’s Baking School in Manhattan and Nick Malgieri.  For this challenge, we must make our own pate a choux (puff pastry) and crème patissiere, and our piece montée needed to be a mounted structure with some height to it. And for once, I completed the challenge early in the month! Woo! I did have hopes of having another go at it though, as my pate a choux didn’t turn out as well as hoped. But as usual, the month just got away from me!  I really enjoyed this challenge, and it has opened the door to lots of other pastries with the same pate a choux base. And despite the height of my croquembouche, it disappeared pretty quickly! 🙂

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Last week was a week of chocolate. It was my boyfriend’s birthday and he likes all things chocolate. The brownies were a pre-birthday chocolate extravaganza, but then came the main event.  The basic recipe I used was a chocolate fudge brownie cake recipe I had great success with before, but this time I went the whole hog with a proper ganache filling and coating. I can now say that ganache is the business.  I made the ganache the day before and stored it in the fridge. After an hour or two out of the fridge, I could beat it into a more spreadable consistency, and because I made so much, I had enough to cover the top and sides. This makes me seem organised, but really I was preparing for disaster and  so giving myself enough time for another trip to the shops the next day.  But success! My next ganache challenge will be frosting cupcakes in a decorative manner (read:proper use of a palette knife). 🙂

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This is an amazing chocolate brownie recipe! Really simple to make, a one bowl mix.  They do command attention when baking though, you want to preserve the fudgy-ness and not let them dry out. So no wandering off to watch tv…at least set a timer!

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It’s Rhubarb Fever here at The Fuzzy Times! Everytime I see rhubarb in the shops I have to buy it. After this crumble/pie I am currently out of rhubarb. This week is chocolate cake week (more on that soon!). I came across this recipe on foodgawker and I had to make it!  You can find the original recipe on Stephcookie’s blog, raspberri cupcake. The main difference between her stunning photos and my finished product is the lack of nice pink rhubarb around here. So, combined with the apples, my filling turned out a little green 😀 Nice pie though.

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Rhubarb Cornmeal Cake

I first made this cake last summer and it was so good. But I couldn’t remember where I found the recipe.  And while I was looking for it I found this recipe which was underwhelming. But then I found the rhubarb recipe again -woot! It’s a Nigella recipe, from her “How to be a Domestic Goddess” book, probably the most used cookbook in my collection. Or a fairly close second to Rachel Allen’s “Bake“. I own alot of cookbooks, and there are so many I have still to bake anything from as I keep choosing recipes that I come across on foodie blogs. When you haven’t much time it’s nice to bake something that someone else has had some success with.

But, I digress. Back to the cake at hand. This recipe was worth finding again. Which is saying something as I am rarely loyal to recipes or celebrity chefs.  The result is a really moist, rhubarb-y mouthful and the cornmeal adds a slight crunch to the texture. It keeps well – it still tasted great on the 3rd day on the cake stand. Nice for an afternoon tea snack. Or as breakfast, which is the category Nigella puts it in. Yes, cake for breakfast is perfectly acceptable.

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Let me start by saying that this cake actually tasted alright. So, I suppose, it wasn’t a complete fail. But the icing was a disaster. Twice. Yes, instead of just admitting defeat and making a ganache, I tried the same icing again. All with a looming dinner party deadline and a mild hangover. It was doomed from the get-go.

Let’s start at the beginning….

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