Name: Jenny

Posts by Jenny:

    Recipe: Lemon Thyme and Lemon Scones

    March 27th, 2015

    Last month, before I disappeared down a hole of non-stop photoshoots and later, tonsillitis, my lovely friends Kate, Polly and I found ourselves in the heart of Soho drinking loose leaf tea and eating scones. Is there anything girlier than a cream tea? Especially one served in what can only be described as the inside of a giant pink marshmallow. It was so much fun to break out a pretty, girly dress and high heels and spend an afternoon catching up with such charming and talented ladies.

    Afternoon Tea originated almost 200 years ago, when Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford, would invite her friend over to indulge in a late afternoon snack and steaming beverage. Within a few decades its popularity exploded, and it had become the ritualistic collection of decadent cakes, dainty sandwiches and clinking china that we recognise today.

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    In London, your average afternoon tea will set you back around £50, which is a little out of my budget. Luckily scones are the easiest things in the world to make. In under half an hour you can have a plate of warm scones waiting to be slathered in jam and clotted cream and a house perfumed with the welcoming scent of freshly baked goods to greet your guests. Dust off your teapot and you are half way there to hosting your own high tea without having to battle crowds of tourists.

    I was going to share with you the recipe for the blackberry chai seed jam I served with the scones. While the recipe theoretically worked, the out of season fruit was bland, so I couldn’t test how much sugar to add.  That’s just the way it goes sometimes. I can’t wait to try it again in the summer as it was such a quick and mess-free way to make a delicious and healthy jam.

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    One Year Ago: Chocolate and Coconut Rice Krispie Squares
    Two Years Ago: Chocolate and Peanut Butter Cheesecake
    Three Years Ago: Carrot Cake

    If you liked my blog, you can also find me on:

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    You can subscribe to BAKE via email by following this link

    To keep up with my cookbook new years resolution see the full list here.

    Lemon Thyme and Lemon Scones

    Ingredients

    110g self raising flour

    pinch of salt

    10g caster sugar

    zest of half a lemon

    leaves of 2 sprigs of lemon thyme, regular thyme will work here too

    30g butter

    75ml milk

    1 egg, beaten

    Instructions

    1. Preheat the oven to 220C/200C Fan and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
    2. In a large bowl mix together the flour, salt, sugar, zest and lemon thyme until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs and there is no lumps of butter left.
    3. Stir through the milk until you get a soft crumbly dough, then turn out onto a floured work surface.
    4. Knead the dough until it comes together. Try not to over knead it, as soon as it sticks together it is ready to be shaped.
    5. Lightly dust a rolling pin and then roll the dough about until it’s about an 2cm thick. Using a 5cm round cutter, cut out the dough and place the rounds on a baking tray. Repeat until you have used all your dough.
    6. Brush the scones with an egg glaze and place in the middle of the oven for 12-15 minutes until the top is golden brown.
    7. Remove from the oven, and move the hot scones to a cooling rack until they are still warm, but not too hot to handle. Serve with clotted cream and jam.
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    Cookbook Reviews – Cookbook Challenge Round Up – February

    March 2nd, 2015

    I know that February is the shortest month but seriously, where did it go?? It’s been a good month, I did my first solo food styling jobs, which was nerve racking to say the least but I am so happy with the results.  I can’t wait to share the photos on my portfolio. I didn’t get very far with my challenge this month, I didn’t even average one recipe a week. After smashing my iPhone whilst making dinner on the worst Friday 13th I lost most of my inclination to cook, and spent a good week avoiding the kitchen. I finally got it fixed last week, after being quoted £200 by Apple as it was just out of it’s warranty (which gave you a ‘discounted’ price of £100) I went with an independant company in Barbican. I am so pleased with Fix My iPhone’s service that I had to mention it! I walked in and my screen was replaced in less than 10 minutes, and they offer a two year guarantee on their work. I also treated myself to cute new phone case which I love! I would never of thought of Paperchase but they have such a great range, I could easily have walked away with all of their graphic printed ones.

    You can read January’s challenge round up here.

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    Broccoli, Pea and Basil Soup (pg 59)
    The Art of Eating Well – Hemsley and Hemsley

    If you want to be inspired to eat healthily I would definitely recommend this book. Their oversaturated photos are so cheerful and delicious looking that every time I flip through it makes me want to run to my greengrocer and stock up. I’ve worked with them a couple of times (and again today in fact) and they are two of the sweetest people in food, always full of compliments and good humour. I loved this soup, the savoury brassica toned down the sweetness of the peas and the basil gave the whole dish a fragrant overtone. The portions were huge, I made half the recipe and it still served 6-7 with bread for a side.

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    Vietnamese Salad (page 38)
    The Little Book of Lunch – Caroline Craig and Sophie Missing

    I was bought this book in the last weeks of working in an office, so I never got to use it for it’s original purpose. I’m not in love with the photography but it is fantastically laid out (you can tell it was written by two editors). This salad was good, I enjoyed the addition of lettuce and sliced cabbage which gave an English fusion feel to the salad. I forgo the optional chicken which left it feeling a less substantial. Half an avocado sliced would make for a more satisfying vegetarian version of this dish. This spicy chilli helped clean out a few (wine and cheese induced) hangover cobwebs I was suffering from which was much appreciated. I can see myself making this a lot throughout the summer as a side dish.

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    Chinese Pak Choi and Chicken Soup (pg 24)
    Super Soups – Michael Van Straten

    I’m going to just come right out and say it, I did not enjoy this soup. Which is a real pity as I have made a handful of recipes from this book and loved them. One of the ‘rules’ I set myself at the beginning of this challenge was not to repeat recipes I had already made, hence me trying a recipe that hadn’t originally caught my eye. This soup was bland, with a mushy texture from soft noodles and over poached chicken. The base was homemade chicken stock with ½ teaspoon of soy sauce per person. My only guess is that he was trying to make the recipe seem more accessible to the average home cook.

    One Year Ago: Apple Pie Pancakes
    Two Years Ago: Blood Orange and Cardamon Cake
    Three Years Ago: Flapjack Crumble (this is one of my favourite recipes!)

    If you liked my blog, you can also find me on:

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    You can subscribe to BAKE via email by following this link

    To keep up with my cookbook new years resolution see the full list here.

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    Recipe: Fruity Pancakes Two Ways

    February 17th, 2015

    I meant to post this recipe last week but I had the worst case of Friday 13th! A falling salt shaker smashed my iPhone screen. I ran cold water into my glass blender jug after making hot soup and cracked it. Two different batches of pancakes failed because my new frying pan was terrible (and now binned). Finally I was emailed by the Art Director of my first ever solo food styling job informing that the ambiguous wording in my contract meant that I was financially responsible for the ingredients of the shoot. By 12 I had completely given up on the day and spent the rest of it hiding under a duvet watching Greys Anatomy. Then I read this post, and felt awful about how completely self indulgent I had been, because at the end of the day it was only money, and what’s the point in having savings accounts if they can’t bail out bad luck days.

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    Anyway, today is pancake day! Which just happens to be one of my favourite days of the year. Usually I am a purest when it comes to my pancake choices, is there anything better than lemon and sugar? But in an effort to eat more healthily this year, I thought I would offset my pure white sugar high with a couple of sweet fruit filled pancakes too. I was originally going to go down last years route of using one of my favourite desserts for inspiration, then I saw that The Simple Things had the exact same idea for rhubarb and custard filled crepes (damn you Friday 13th late blog posting). So instead here are two variations, both using warm milky custard as a base. The first is a vanilla custard topped with bananas, when I was little I thought that bananas and custard was the best dessert. It’s so delicious and simple! The second, because there is only one banana fan in this London flat is a citrusy lemon custard with sweet blueberries that burst in your mouth as you eat them.

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    One Year Ago: Boozy Chocolate Mousse
    Two Years Ago: Pink Meringues
    Three Years Ago: Lemon And Sugar Pancakes

    If you liked my blog, you can also find me on:

    bloglovin’ | | twitter | | pinterest | | tumblr | | flickr | | instagram

    You can subscribe to BAKE via email by following this link

    To keep up with my cookbook new years resolution see the full list here.

    Recipe: Fruity Pancakes Two Ways

    Pancakes, makes 10 in a 20cm pan Custard, makes 1 pint, from BBC Good Food

    Ingredients

    1 cup plain flour

    1 cup milk

    1 egg

    1-2 tbsp flavourless oil

    570ml/1 pint milk

    55ml/2fl oz single cream

    1 vanilla pod or ½ tsp vanilla extract or zest of one lemon

    4 eggs, yolks only

    30g/1oz caster sugar

    2 level tsp cornflour

    banana or blueberries to serve

    Instructions

    1. Whisk the flour, milk and egg together in a bowl until all lumps have gone.
    2. Put all the oil in the pan roll around to coat it, and then tip into a container to use next time, repeat this between each pancake.
    3. Pour in 1/10th of the batter, and move the pan around to create a thin layer.
    4. When the middle of the pancake has solidified, and the edges have turned light brown it is ready to flip.
    5. Using a spatula flip the pancake over and cook for a further 30-45 seconds until brown spots start to form on the bottom of the pancake.
    6. To make the custard, bring the milk, cream and vanilla pod/essence or lemon zest to simmering point slowly over a low heat.
    7. If using, remove the vanilla pod.
    8. Whisk the yolks, sugar and cornflour together in a bowl until well blended.
    9. Pour the hot milk and cream on to the eggs and sugar, whisking all the time with a balloon whisk.
    10. Return to the pan, (add vanilla extract if using) and over a low heat gently stir with a wooden spatula until thickened.
    11. Pour the custard into a jug and serve at once.
    12. To keep hot, stand the jug in a pan of hot water and cover the top with cling film to prevent skin forming.
    13. Serve with fresh fruit.
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    Recipe: Mocha Mini Valentines Cakes

    February 6th, 2015

    It’s February and love is in the air! Honestly I am not the worlds biggest fan of Valentine’s Day as my heart well and truly belongs to all things pancake related at this time of year. I am, however pretty damn girly and love basically anything heart shaped so I couldn’t resist making little heart shaped cakes anyway.

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    After many Valentines together Dan and I have got it down to an art, I buy him steak he buys me flowers and chocolates. This year we’re going slightly outside the box as I have begged him to buy me this book too. I am on a self imposed cookbook shopping ban as I cannot be trusted not to go overboard and we just don’t have the room! (it doesn’t count if you get them as gifts though… right?).

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    My weekend just isn’t complete unless I have had at least one overpriced coffee in some well-worn chair whilst listening to a mix of pretentious indie bands and the screech of milk steamers. I love the smell of freshly roasted beans, the glass fronted cabinet of cakes I never buy and the excuse to be out of the house but still somewhere warm. I flit between my orders, sometimes a cappuccino, sometimes mint tea very occasionally the odd chai latte, but Dan always without fail orders the same thing. Medium mocha, no cream, no foam, piping hot. So these mocha mini Valentines cakes are for him.  For his patience with my love of coffee shops when I know he would rather be in a pub, and for creating the opportunity for us to live in one of the greatest cities in the world, which just so happens to have a plethora of pretentious cafe options.

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    I always forget how much I love coffee cake, with all of the flavour of my favourite piping hot beverage but none of the bitterness. Whilst it pairs beautifully with the more traditional maple syrup and walnut, there is somethings a little decadent about the drizzling of hot liquid chocolate.

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    One Year Ago: Rhubarb Valentines Tart
    Two Years Ago: Basic Hummus
    Three Years Ago: Prince Cupcakes

    If you liked my blog, you can also find me on:

    bloglovin’ | | twitter | | pinterest | | tumblr | | flickr | | instagram

    You can subscribe to BAKE via email by following this link

    To keep up with my cookbook new years resolution see the full list here.

    Mocha Mini Valentines Cakes

    Ingredients

    65g unsalted butter +1 tsp for greasing

    65g golden caster sugar

    1 large egg

    65g plain flour

    ¾ tsp baking powder

    pinch of salt

    1 level tsp coffee powder

    1 tsp vanilla

    1 tbsp milk

    icing sugar to dust

    100g milk chocolate

    1 tbsp coconut oil

    Instructions

    1. Preheat the oven to 170C (fan assisted). If using a silicone mould (I used the Masterclass Smart Silicone Heart Shaped Baking Pan House of Fraser) melt 1 tsp of butter then using a pastry brush coat the inside of the mould with butter. If making cupcakes line the tin with papers.
    2. In a small bowl mix together the coffee powder with 1 tablespoon of boiling water, set to one side to cool slightly.
    3. In a large bowl beat together the butter and sugar for 3-4 minutes until pale, fluffy and doubled in size. Add one tablespoon of flour to the mixture and mix in, then add the egg and beat well. Sift in the dry ingredients and combine until just mixed, then pour in the milk, coffee and vanilla and beat until smooth. Divide between the moulds/cupcake cases and bake in the middle of a preheated oven for 10 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.
    4. Whilst the cakes are in the oven make the coffee syrup.
    5. Leave to cool in the tins for 5 minutes, then remove and place on a cooling tray to cool to room temperature.
    6. Before serving dust the cakes with a little icing sugar and bring an inch of water to boil in a saucepan. Place a bowl large enough that it rests on the rim of the pan over the boiling water and break up the chocolate and the coconut oil into it. Stir over the heat until it has completely melted and the oil is mixed in.
    7. Serve the cakes with a drizzle of chocolate sauce.

    Notes

    makes 6 mini cakes or regular sized cupcakes recipe by Jenny Brown

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    Cookbook Reviews – Cookbook Challenge Round Up – January

    February 4th, 2015

    This is my first post of February so I thought it might be fun write an update on my New Years Resolution but I will be back later this week with a Valentines treat for you all!  For those of you who missed my post in January on it, my goal for 2015 is to cook one recipe from each of my currently 56 cookbooks, which I have been documenting through the wonderful medium of Instagram.  You can see a full list of the books in my challenge here.  January was a productive month, I worked my way through 5 books, so just over my one a week aim.  My favourite part was seeking out a tiny deli in Soho I have wanted to go to for almost a year in search of cotechina sausages.  Not falling back on favourite, tried and tested recipes from the books was a little tough, but I’m glad I stuck it out (for the most part) to expand my cooking skills and repertoire.

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    Broccoli Pasta and Chopped Green Salad (pg 192)
    Jamies 15 Minute Meals – Jamie Oliver

    This was one of my most used cookbooks when I worked in an office.  Though I’ve never managed to make any of the meals in 15 minutes or under, they are consistently delicious and not too much hassle after work.  I loved that this dish came with a side salad as the anchovies made it quite rich and the veggies added a bright aspect to the meal.  This was so good that we made it again the next night, and could easily eat it every week from now until eternity! Though I did not love cleaning anchovy and garlic out of my (frequently used for smoothies) blender.

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    Ginger Beef (pg 46) and Aromatic Wok Fried Beans (pg 36)
    Gok Cooks Chinese – Gok Wan

    When I told Rosie Birkett that everything I made from this book was fantastic she looked at me with disbelief.  The son of the owner of a chain of chinese restaurants, Gok grew up in the kitchen and I think this book is probably as much his father’s as his own.  I’ve blogged about his Sticky Chicken before, it’s one of my favourite things to make when I have guests over, as it’s simple to make and everyone always asks for seconds.  The Ginger Beef was absolutely incredible, the outside was crispy and the steak was so tender. Because the recipe calls for sirloin I doubt I will make this again anytime soon as it seemed a little like blasphemy to eat my favourite cut of beef any other way than medium rare with peppercorn sauce.  The green beans were nice enough, but not worth the effort it took to make them, which included a trip to China Town to buy a £7 bottle of Shoaxing rice wine that you only need one tablespoon of.

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    Steamed Apple and Treacle Pudding (pg 66)
    One A Cook and Her Cupboard – Florence Knight

    Wow.  I could not get enough of this pudding (even if I did serve it to my guests at gone midnight).  I don’t think I have had a steamed pudding since I was about 7, and then they were made either in a microwave or came out of a tin.  The inclusion of apples gave the dessert a satisfying tart dimension against the sweetness of the syrup.  I made it the day before, and then reheated it whilst we were eating, as it does have a long steaming time (over an hour).

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    Steamed Egg Pudding (pg 99)
    My Vietnamese Kitchen – Uyen Luu

    This recipe if from my boss’s book, and it’s become a bit of a running joke that whenever someone buys it, I always recommend this recipe.  It is so delicious, I am completely addicted! I did break my new dish rule as I have made this dish before, but as I have made quite a few things from that book over the year I gave myself a pass.  This dish is incredibly frugal once you’ve made the initial outlay (which was only about £7 for all the specialist ingredients) as you only use a small amount.  As I have said, I love, love, love this dish, it’s really savoury and meaty.  Paired with plain boiled rice and a simple soup of stock, ginger and cabbage you have something really special.  The whole meal only takes about 40 minutes and it had become a regular midweek meal round here.

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    Risotto Con Cipolle Bianche Dolce, Cotechino e Timo (pg 148) and Ricetta Topics Per Verdure Verdi (pg 264)
    Jamie’s Italy – Jamie Oliver

    Which loosely translates as sausage and onion risotto and wilted greens.  I was planning on spacing out my Jamie Oliver books a bit. When Dan asked me on our day off what I wanted to do, I jumped at the opportunity to drag him into the seedy depths of soho in search of specialist ingredients.  Special sausage in fact, which is not something you want to ask out loud on the road that Lina Stores resides on.  The staff were so kind and knowledgeable, when they told us they had run out of cotechino, they asked us to explain our recipe then took us through the options they thought would work as subsitutes.  We settled for a chilli sausage made in store, which had just the right amount of heat and a delicious hint of fennel.  Every stage of this risotto took longer than I would usually spend on it, and the result was just incredible.  The flavours really deepened and matured and the tip at the end to put the parmesan and butter in the pan then cover with a lid made the creamiest risotto I have ever tasted.  Honestly, I was surprised that something that good was made by me! I really liked the wilted greens, the lemon juice really perked up it’s taste.  It’s a great way to use up slightly worst for wear lettuce and cabbage at the end of the week, and turn it into something really tasty.

    I hope you’ve enjoyed this round up! I’m planning my next recipe from The Three Sisters Quick and Easy Curries this weekend.  Check out my instagram to see how it goes!

    One Year Ago: Rhubarb Valentines Tart
    Two Years Ago: Basic Hummus
    Three Years Ago: Prince Cupcakes

    If you liked my blog, you can also find me on:

    bloglovin’ | | twitter | | pinterest | | tumblr | | flickr | | instagram

    You can subscribe to BAKE via email by following this link

    To keep up with my cookbook new years resolution see the full list here.

    5 Comments "

    Homemade Bread Series: Seriously Seedy Bread

    January 30th, 2015

    This time last year I was so unbelievably, unbearably smug.  I was eating healthily, I drank loads of water and I had a workout routine.  Hell some days I went to TWO exercises classes – one after the other, like some kind of superhero.  And I didn’t get ill all winter, and I am a sickly person.  I am the most hospitable host (as my friend would say) so I will catch anything that is going around.  Then I moved away from my lovely gym and in my with lovely (not yet) inlaws and my eating habits reverted back to normal.

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    So this winter I have picked up pretty much every bug and cold making the rounds.  I am sure that living in a new area isn’t helping.  You know, like when you start university and everyone gets freshers flu, which is just a mashup of everyone’s different strains of colds that you haven’t grown up with so you aren’t immune to.  Well this year I have a winter of east London flu, and it’s not pretty.  It is curled up on the sofa with a duvet and a box of tissues, in thick fluffy socks and a thermal hat, forcing myself to drink and entire water filter throughout the day whilst binge watching Bones and Essie Buttons videos.  Which is even more embarrassing after hearing my boss and her agent try to understand why on earth makeup vloggers are so popular.

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    Now I know me, and as much as I would like to think that when I am ill I will eat healthy soups and fruit packed muffins, I actually eat toast.  For every single meal.  Usually using my favourite comfort food – pre-packaged white bread.  Sometimes it’s exciting toast, topped with roasted vegetables or mushed up avocado.  But mostly it’s just hummus or peanut butter.  So bring on the slightly-healthier-than-average white bread.  It’s made with 50% wholemeal and packed with seeds which a full of magnesium, zinc, calcium and phosphorus which are needed to boost your immunity and up energy production.  That way, on days when dragging yourself off the sofa and slathering something onto toasted bread feels like the ultimate win, at least you’re getting a few extra nutrients for your buck.

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    ^^^ some of the toast pics I have shared on instagram over the last 6 months ^^^

    One Year Ago: Peanut Butter and Jam Sandwich Cake
    Two Years Ago: Tuscan Bean Soup
    Three Years Ago: Bread Sticks

    If you liked my blog, you can also find me on:

    bloglovin’ | | twitter | | pinterest | | tumblr | | flickr | | instagram

    You can subscribe to BAKE via email by following this link

    To keep up with my cookbook new years resolution see the full list here.

    seed bread 3 blog

    Homemade Bread Series: Seriously Seedy Bread

    Ingredients

    330ml luke warm water (in cold weather like this I use 250ml tap water and 80ml boiled)

    7g yeast

    5g sugar

    25ml sesame seed oil

    280g white strong flour, plus extra for dusting

    280g wholemeal strong flour

    5g himalayan pink salt

    15g poppy seeds

    15g golden linseed

    15g brown linseed (or 30g of one kind)

    50g sunflower seeds

    flavourless oil for greasing

    Instructions

    1. In a jug mix together the waters, oil, yeast and sugar. Leave to one side for 5 minutes until the yeast is foaming (which means that it’s activated).
    2. In the bowl of a stand mixer combine the rest of the ingredients and give a quick stir to mix them. Once the yeast is activated add the wet ingredients to the dry, and using the dough hook attachment of your stand mixer, knead for 12 minutes.
    3. Once the 12 minutes are up, pile all the dough onto the hook and remove the bowl. If the bowl is stuck, which is quite often is on my kitchen aid, give the bowl 3 or so smacks with an open palm, this will loosen it. Litttle trick I learnt yesterday!
    4. Remove the dough from the dough hook and shape into a ball. You do this by first pinching a small section of the side of the dough, stretching it out slightly then pressing it firmly into the middle of the dough, repeat the step to the immediate side of your first, then again until you’ve worked your way all the way round. Then flip the ball over, and using gently cupped hands quickly and lightly pull your hands over the side of the dough and underneath repeatedly, rotating as you go to create a smooth ball. Oil the mixing bowl liberally and place the dough back in it. Cover with clingfilm and leave to rise for an hour.
    5. Knock the air out of the dough then repeat the last step. This extra hour of rising gives the bread extra flavour.
    6. When the dough has risen stretch the dough out until you have formed a thin sheet about 1cm thick. Fold into thirds – imagine you’re folding an A4 letter to go into a standard envelope. Starting at one of the thinner ends, roll the dough towards you, using your thumbs to tightly tuck the roll so it stays taut, you don’t want any gaps in the roll.
    7. Place the loaf in a very well floured proving basket (I have this one), sprinkle with flour, cover with clingfilm and leave to rise a second time, for about an hour or until it’s doubled in size again.
    8. About 30-40 minutes in, turn your oven on as high as it will go (or about 240C) - you want it screaming hot. If you have a baking stone – I used my pizza stone – put this in the oven now too. If you’re using a regular baking tray this can be left out until you need it.
    9. 10 minutes before your dough is ready put a tray of water in the bottom of the oven to create steam.
    10. Remove the clingfilm, gently turn the loaf out onto the tray that you are using, with a sharp knife score along the top to prevent the crust for cracking, place in the oven and for and set a timer for 10 minutes.
    11. When your alarm goes off, remove the water tray from the oven and let some of the steam out, and turn the oven down to 210C, and bake for a further 30 minutes, or until the crust is golden and it sounds hollow when you knock on the bottom.
    12. Allow to cool, and keep in an airtight container to stop from going stale.
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    Recipe: Super Coconutty Blueberry Muffins

    January 22nd, 2015

    I really don’t understand people who get away with not eating breakfast in the morning. I am a complete and utter nightmare when I am hungry. I am basically a mashup of all those snickers adverts rolled into one 28 year old sulking trembling mess. Usually I am quite good at shoving at least a couple of slices of cold toast (if not better) down my throat before running out the front door, but for some reason I have been failing at even this some days in 2015. I am not joking when I say I am pretty useless when I am having a sugar low, and particularly first thing on a shoot you have to be really with it to get everything up and running in time for the first shot. Winter has been particularly stressful as the hours of natural light that you have to shoot with are so short, yet you’re expected to get as much done as you would do in a day that has four-five more workable hours in. Long story short – you need to be on your A game and hungry and unfocused is not really an option.

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    So I have packed my freezer out with some grab and go refined sugar and gluten free muffins for days when I am less organised than I should be. AKA days where the snooze button and a streak of liquid eyeliner take precedence over feeding myself. I have packed them full of lots of fruit to make them sweet and coconut flour, because, well I had some in my cupboard after a shoot and I thought what the hell. I’m also still on the coconut oil band wagon, even more so after spending a day last week with the lovely Hemsley sisters sharing why they love the product so much and some of their recipes they use it in. That was such an inspiring day, they have such an approachable view on cooking and eating. I particularly love their idea of big batch cooking and then doing a food swap with friends. The whole day was great, and it was amazing to actually meet/remeet/not-quite-meet some of the lovely girls behind some of the blogs I read (top with cinnamon/shiny thoughts/Rachel Phipps).

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    These muffins are the easiest thing to make, you just need a bowl, a fork (and a whisk if you’re being fancy) and a muffin pan. They are a great way to use up any browning bananas lingering in your fruit bowl, which as I have already said is a problem in my flat. The minute quantity of coconut flour sounds like a mistake but it is really absorbent and expands as soon as you add it to the banana and oil. Thrown in a bag with a thermos of black coffee and you are ready to go, not matter how much of your walk to work you have to do at a light jog.

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    One Year Ago: Peanut Butter and Jam Sandwich Cake
    Two Years Ago: Cake Balls
    Three Years Ago: Lemon Meringue Cupcakes

    Super Coconutty Blueberry Muffins

    makes 6 recipe by Jenny Brown

    Ingredients

    2 very ripe medium sized bananas

    1 tsp vanilla

    1 egg

    50ml melted coconut oil (I will just throw it on a radiator until enough of it melted to pour out what I need)

    30g coconut flour

    1 tsp baking powder

    pinch of salt (I like pink Himalayan salt - I got loads for Christmas!)

    100g blueberries

    Instructions

    1. Preheat your oven to 175C (fan assisted) and line a muffin tin, this is quite a moist mixture so I recommend using cupcake cases).
    2. Using a fork mash up your banana, don’t worry too much if there are a few lumps.
    3. Add the melted coconut oil, egg and and vanilla and beat for about a minute, you will see the mixture get slightly lighter in colour.
    4. Add the dry ingredients (coconut flour, egg, and baking powder) and whisk together, then fold through the blueberries.
    5. Split between your cupcake cases and bake in the middle of the oven for 20 minutes, turning half way through. The top should be golden brown and an inserted skewer should come out clean.
    6. Leave to cool in the tin for 5-10 minutes before removing and letting to cool to room temperature on a wire rack.
    7. Store in an airtight tub for up to about half a week, or if freezing wrap individually for a quick breakfast.
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    To keep up with my cookbook new years resolution see the full list here.

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    Recipe: Pandan Madeleines with Lime Curd

    January 15th, 2015

    I can’t believe that I got to cook for and meet one of my foodie heros last week, who’s latest cookbook has been sitting on my coffee table since Christmas.  I may have the coolest job ever.  Last week my boss was the resident chef at a pop up restaurant in Marylebone. The Vietnamese menu was fantastic, I nibbled on leftovers as much as I could.  I hadn’t realised how much I missed the humour and camaraderie of working in a team of people.  The constant joking and teasing (‘don’t mess up that ice cream cake it’s for Yotam Ottoleghi’ was whispered over my shoulder more than once – even on the days he wasn’t attending) and the support from experienced staff as I found my feet on the steep learning curve.  It’s a week I won’t forget in a hurry, but at the same time the whole experience is blurred together in a haze.  Dinner service sped by in a flash, every night I was shocked when after the last plate of dessert went out that the time has fast forwarded in a blur from 7.30pm to gone 11.

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    I wanted to share with you one of the dishes from the five course menu, but having helped make it all five days in a row for several hundred people I couldn’t quite bring myself to make it again in my own time.  So instead, here is a play on the dessert, using some of the same flavours to create a decadent sugary breakfast instead (one of my favourite weekend indulgences)with a Vietnamese twist.  Frances occupation of Vietnam in the 19th and 20th centuries introduced a lot of french cooking into the local cuisine.  Bahn mi, a baguette filled with Vietnamese herbs and meats being an obvious example.

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    One of my favourite French breakfasts is Madeleines (and croissants… and pain au chocolat… and brioche…). I’ve flavoured them here with pandan, you can buy the extract in some asian supermarkets, or it’s really easy to make yourself from the leaves (you can buy them in the Vietnamese shops on Mare Street, Hackney).  Pandan has quite a difficult to describe flavour, it’s floral and citrusy with a hint that’s almost grassy whilst being quite delicate which makes it work wonderfully with the light sponge of madeleines.  To add a tart aspect, as on their own I find these little cakes a little too sweet, I’ve made a simple lime curd.  By replacing the usual butter with coconut oil it creates a tropical flavour without being overpowering, or changing the texture or consistency.  If you don’t have any coconut oil (but you should, it’s the best ingredient/makeup remover/moisturiser/hairmask!) you can swap it like for like with unsalted butter.

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    One Year Ago: Clementine Cake inspired by The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
    Two Years Ago: Asparagus Soup
    Three Years Ago: Lemon Meringue Cupcakes

    If you liked my blog, you can also find me on:

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    Pandan Madeleines with Lime and Coconut Curd

    madeleine recipe adapted from Bread, Cake, Doughnut, Pudding makes 12 curd recipe by Jenny Brown makes 250ml

    Ingredients

    madeleines:

    80g pandan leaves

    25g clear honey

    80g butter plus extra for greasing

    2 eggs

    75g caster sugar

    10g demerara sugar

    80g plain flour plus extra for dusting

    5g baking powder

    icing sugar for decoration

    curd:

    zest and juice of 2 limes

    110g golden caster sugar

    3 egg yolks

    50g coconut oil

    Instructions

    1. Chop the pandan leaves into 1-2 inch chunks and place in a blender with 150ml water. Blend until smooth and then pass through a sieve. Pour into a bottle and store in the fridge for up to two weeks.
    2. Over a low heat melt together the butter and honey, remove from the heat and allow to cool a little.
    3. Beat together the eggs and sugars in a stand mixer for 5 minutes until light and foamy and tripled in sized.
    4. Using a spatula fold through the butter and honey, making sure to scrape to the bottom of the bowl as this is where most of the butter sinks to. Next sift in the flour and baking powder and fold through. Finally pour 75ml of the pandan extract into the bowl and stir through, the mixture should turn a light green.
    5. Cover in clingfilm and leave in the fridge overnight to rest - or for at least 4 hours.
    6. Preheat the oven to 180C (Fan), grease and dust your madeleine tray (I use this one ). Spoon about 1tbsp of mixture into each shell, so they are almost completely full. Bake for 10-11 minutes until golden brown and an inserted skewer comes out clean.
    7. Serve hot straight from the oven, with a light dusting of icing sugar.
    8. Place your jar and lid in a pot of boiling water to sterilize.
    9. Reserving the zest, tip the rest of the ingredients into a heavy bottom pan and place over a medium heat.
    10. Whisk constantly until the curd begins to thicken and it starts to boil (about 5 minutes). As soon as you see the first bubble remove from the heat. Stir through the lime zest.
    11. Carefully remove the jar from the water, making sure to drain it the best you can. Pour the hot curd into the jar (I like this small one ), and screw the lid on. Tip the jar upside down, so the hot curd covers the inside of the lid, this helps to sterilise it further. Leave to cool to room temperature, then keep in the fridge for up to two weeks.
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    Recipe: Speculaas Banana Bread

    January 8th, 2015

    Happy New Year I hope you’ve had a good one so far! I spent the first day of 2015 curled up on my sofa surviving one of the worst hangovers of my life, the clinging remainder of a fantastic (Mexican themed) see off to a brilliant year.  I love this time of year, even when my head is throbbing, my stomach is churning and my noisy upstairs neighbour are grinding down my last nerve. It feels so fresh and full of promise, and as a bonafide resolution junky I can get the best fix of the year.  The past few years I have extensively shared my plans for the new year (read about 2014/2013/2012) so to ring the changes this time I will only share one, my big aim for 2015 (which isn’t that bold or difficult!)  is to cook a recipe from each of my (currently) 56 cookbooks.  You can see the full list here  - and I will be sharing the results via instagram for the next 52 weeks!  I knocked the first one out on Sunday, and it was so delicious that I remade it the following day too.

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    One of the things my job requires me to be able to do is to learn how to make something at the drop of the hat.  For Marks and Spencers it was old fashioned fudge, for the Telegraph it was gluten free pastry.  It’s stressful and sometimes hopeless, but it suits my short attention span, and every week is a new adventure.  So hopefully this resolution will not only get me passed aimlessly perusing my collection of books (they have to count for more that just a good workout whenever I move house) and I will pick up a new skill or two along the way.  So next time an editor calls the night before a shoot to yet again change the object for the next days shoot I will feel a little more prepared.

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    So I may have lied slightly, and I’m going to veer into sharing another of my resolutions, eat more fruit and vegetables.  Ok, maybe it’s not that new a resolution as I have mentioned it many many times.  As soon as I start mentioning healthy eating the you can almost guarantee that there will be a glut of varying shades of browning bananas hanging out in our fruit bowl.  I start with the best intention in the world of eating almond milk porridge with just a sprinkle of pink salt and sliced banana every morning, but by the end of the week my resolve has softened.

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    Brown bananas mean one thing… BANANA BREAD!! Sweet sticky slices of absolute pure comfort.  My favourite way to spend a wet and blustery winters afternoon is cocooned in a duvet with a pot of tea and a few slices of banana bread.  In the spirit of my Amsterdam adventure last year (and in the hope that 2015 will bring more exciting travel) I added a little dutch spice which was kindly sent to me last year.  Wintery spices like cloves and cinnamon are banana breads best friend, adding a warm dimension to the sweet cake which will have you immediately reaching for a second slice.

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    One Year Ago: London Particular
    Two Years Ago: White Bread Loaf
    Three Years Ago: Spiced Nutella Madeleines

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    Speculaas Banana Bread

    makes one loaf recipe by Jennifer Brown

    Ingredients

    85ml flavourless oil (I used rapeseed) plus extra for greasing

    3 large very ripe bananas, mashed

    200g caster sugar

    2 tbsp treacle

    1 egg

    1 tsp vanilla extract

    1 tsp Speculaas spice or ½ tsp ground cloves ¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg ¼ tsp ground cinnamon

    1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

    pinch of salt

    170g plain flour plus extra for dusting

    50g walnuts (optional)

    Instructions

    1. Start by preheating the oven to 160C (fan) and greasing and dusting a 2lb loaf tin - this is my favourite.
    2. In a large bowl whisk together the mashed bananas, oil, sugar, treacle, vanilla and spices. Whisk until slightly lighter in colour, which takes about a minute.
    3. Sift in the bicarbonate of soda and flour, add a pinch of salt and fold together using a wooden spoon. If adding walnuts stir through. Pour into the prepared tin and bake in the middle of the oven for an hour. If after about 35-40 minute the top looks dark brown you can cover with foil to stop the top from burning. When cooked an inserted skewer should come out with only a few crumbs attached.
    4. Store in an airtight container. Serving suggestion, whipped cream and crushed walnuts.
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