Thursday 28 November 2013

Gingerdead house!

I made this gingerdead house to help promote the launch of a brand new zombie app made by some friends. The house is based on a house in the film, and I wanted the zombies to be reaching out to nibble on you!

Sweet dreams!

Parts 1 and 2 of UK horror app The Hunting - 'the world's scariest app' - are out now and they're scaring the competition off the charts.  Made for less than the cost of an iPhone, the "heart-pumping fright fest" (Daily Star) was made by a team of talented independent filmmakers, and is taking on the big-budget games in the charts, reaching the Top 3 in the UK Entertainment chart. 
The Hunting is the world's first fully interactive horror movie, shot on location in England with a talented British cast and crew, there is absolutely no CGI, everything is REAL, making the experience all the more terrifying!  An intense first-person movie with a bone-chilling soundtrack, YOU are the main character, YOU make the decisions, and YOU live or die based on your actions.  
Part 1 is free and features the first 13 minutes of the film you can find it here.  Part 2 has over 40 minutes of footage and you can find it here.
From award-winning director Allan Plenderleith and multi-million downloaded app developer Jason Stewart. Released on the iPhone app store by UK indie developer Wotsamaflip Studios Ltd.
For best results play alone, in the dark with headphones.  Oh, and try to remain calm.

Friday 22 November 2013

Microwave Christmas pudding

In a couple of days it will be Stir Up Sunday, the traditional day when bakers make their Christmas cakes, mincemeat and puddings. I always get very excited on this day as the aromas and fragrances of the coming season fill the house and we all take a turn to stir the bowl as we make a wish. However there is one big downside to the pudding making and that is the amount of steam generated when cooking them. All the widows are steamed over for the four hours it takes to cook the puddings and any fondant decorations I have out totally wilt.
So this year I decided to try an experiment. I normally reheat the puddings in the microwave, so why not cook them in there too, and it works, they cook in twelve minutes, so you don't have to hang around the kitchen for hours. Of course if you think what I am suggesting is sacrilege then please feel free to steam them in the traditional manner.
One of the best features with this type of pudding is that you can use any fruit you like as long as it comes to the same weight as the fruit in the recipe, and use any alcohol you wish as long as it has a good flavour.
The pureed prunes add a lovely caramel, toffee taste to the pud and creates a moister crumb too, and the melted chocolate increases the richness.

I cooked my pudding on full power for four lots of four minutes, leaving it to rest for a minute in between each blast. If you insert a cake tester or skewer into the center of the pudding it will come out clean once it is cooked. As soon as it has finished cooking pour over three tablespoons of the Armagnac. Cover the bowl in clingfilm and feed (pour over more Armagnac) every week.
To reheat cook for two minutes in the microwave, again on full power, let it rest for a minute and then cook for another two minutes.

You can print or download the recipe using the gizmo above.

You can find a recipe for mincemeat here.
And Christmas cake recipe and decoration here.

Tuesday 19 November 2013

Food processor giveaway

This competition is now closed, thankyou to everyone who entered and congratulations to Gill who won the food processor. x
I have a fabulous giveaway for you today, and it's something that I actually really need myself at the moment, but I'm afraid I can't allow myself to enter in case you accuse me of favoritism. 
It is a Kenwood food processor...hurrah! I do own a mini food processor but it is only big enough for a few herbs, and as I am busy testing recipes for Christmas pudding at the moment (coming soon)  it is taking an age to make all the bread crumbs that I need.

However this one would be perfect, and it comes with a blender. You can see all the details of the product here.

If you are getting ready for Stir Up Sunday and would love to save some time then I'll tell you how you can be in with a chance of winning. You do have to live in the UK though (sorry rest of the world!)
Let me know in the comment section how you would use this food processor, please leave an email address with your comment too.
Leave a separate comment if you follow me, if you link to this post via Facebook, Twitter or your own blog. So you could have up to five chances of winning.
The competition will close on Tuesday 26th November at 12pm.  The winner will be drawn using
Good luck.
(This competition is in collaboration with Argos, I haven't received any payment or products for hosting this giveaway.)

Saturday 9 November 2013

Figgy-walnut sandwich bites

Every so often, if I am feeling tired and sluggish for no discernible reason, I take a little break from wheat, but as you can imagine this is not easy considering a) I bake for a living and b) how much I really really love cake!
So after mainlining wheat based baked goods for a prolonged period  I decided to step away from the flour. I knew that this would be too hard to do without a stash of wheat-free goodies for me to turn to if I needed some of the good stuff. So I created these little biscuits to be my guilty pleasure (when the kidlets weren't looking.) I made them with wheat-free flour, which I actually really like, it has more of a gritty texture than normal flour and can feel drier in the mouth, but married with a delicious ganache filling they were perfect. Of course you can make them with a wheat based flour if you prefer and they would be just as yummy. I had to sample the biscuits as soon as they came out of the oven (naturally) and they were delicious, they would be perfect with a cup of tea or coffee in their naked state, but dressed with a dollop of figgy jam and some ganache they are quite scrumptious.

Place the chopped figs and caster sugar in pan and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved, bring to the boil and then simmer until it forms a jam (104C/220F.) If you don't have a sugar thermometer, when you think the jam has nearly set take the pan off the heat, then put a teaspoonful of the jam onto a saucer and place in the fridge, after a couple of minutes take it out, push the surface of the jam, if you can see wrinkling then the jam is set (if it is not ready then simmer for five minutes and try again.)

Put the remaining ingredients into a bowl and rub them together with your fingers until they form a dough. Pat the dough into a flat cake shape, cover it with kitchen film and place in the fridge for at least an hour.

Roll the dough out to a depth of 3-4cm.

Cut out the biscuits with a circle cutter measuring roughly 5cm, and place them on a lined baking tray.
Bake in a preheated oven 200C for ten minutes or until they are golden brown around the edges. 
The unfilled cookies can be stored in a tin for up to a week and will remain perfectly crisp.
(I'd like to point out that my fingers are not injured but just covered in food colours)

Melt 100g of good quality dark chocolate, then add 50ml of boiling water. Beat together until they have combined and leave the ganache to cool slightly.

Put the ganache into a piping bag. Place a small dollop of the fig jam in the middle of a biscuit. Pipe the ganache around the edge of the biscuit. Then gently press another cookie on top. 

The finished cookies need to be eaten on day you fill them, although they will last longer if you forgo the figgy jam and just use ganache as a filling.

You can download the recipe by clicking on the arrow in the picture above, or click on the printer to print out the pdf. 

I hope that you will enjoy these biscuits as much as I did (I pretty much ate the whole batch myself!)

Monday 4 November 2013

Classes in Barcelona

I will be visiting Barcelona in January next year to teach two classes.
The basic rose class.
A mash up of the cupcake class and the cookie class.
See here for details on booking.