30 June 2012

Avocado and Chocolate ON Banana CAKE?!

♬ 'Our Version Of Events' by Emeli San

Well as you can see I had another successful Friday baking and creating! A whole week was spent working on strengthening my abdominals then I went ahead and made a naughty batch of banana cupcakes with dark chocolate and avocado frosting. Please don't turn away from the screen in disgust, you have to trust me when I type chocolate and avocado work very well together. In fact I would recommend this topping instead of chocolate buttercream, at least with this green mushy pear look a like you are exposing your body to a heart healthy fat. Butter is a bakers guilty pleasure. 
While munching on porridge and listening to talented Emeli, a bunch of hass avocados were sitting solemnly in the cupboard, all of a sudden I started to reminisce about my days working at a vegan cafe and switched the oven on. It was called Pogo cafe and was ran by dare I type it - extremists. I was first told to change my shoes because they were leather, added to that all of them laughed in my face when I told them I pay rent! Apart from the loud opinions all the staff had they baked awesome vegan cakes. I was mesmerized with the use of vinegar, beetroot, avocado and other delectable ingredients to replace butter, eggs and milk. One of the cakes I was lucky enough to bake for customers was a blueberry chocolate cake with chocolate and avocado frosting. With this recipe still fresh at the forefront of my mind, I dashed to the shops to buy a bar of Green and Black's dark chocolate.

Here on a speedy Viddy are the ingredients, thought I would try something different instead of acting excited and using the word 'amazing'. Saying that it is pretty amazing I managed to list all the ingredients in 15 seconds! Pausing will be necessary...

▶ Method

Preheat oven to 180°c.
Cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.
: Add the honey, egg, banana and milk. Mix for about 5 minutes until well combined and no lumpy banana bits!
: Tip in the flour, baking powder and cinnamon (I forgot to sneak in and say I used wholemeal not plain, this adds a nuttier wholesome flavour)
: Once lovely and smooth, scoop in 12 muffin cases and bake for 25 minutes.
: Meanwhile melt the chocolate then add to a bowl with the avocados and whisk well. It's up to you how many you would like to cover. Depending on how much you would like to pipe, 3 small hass avocados and 200g dark chocolate will cover 6 cupcakes. 

Taste as you go along, the mixture should look glossy, smooth and not too runny. 
Refrigerate for an hour.
: Once the cakes are out, leave to cool on a wire rack.
: Check the chocolate mixture, it should be firm to touch. Then fill a piping bag and get creative! Sprinkle some gold dust and eat without feeling bad. These can be stored in a tin for up to 3 days, but I doubt they will last that long!


Favourite Song:

ê 'My Kind Of Love'

This song stood out the most when Emeli performed at Hackney Weekend. 
I love her hair.

If you have any questions regarding the recipe or method, please feel free to contact moi via email or at the bottom here. 

P. S If your name is Andy Clarke stop commenting about the dentist you visit and stupidly linking it to cake.
Posting links to other sites on this one is rude, you should ask first.

27 June 2012

Phat Jaffa Cupcakes

'Watch The Throne' by Jay-Z

Surprisingly after Hackney weekend all I've been humming, listening and moving my shoulders to is this album. Jay-Z rocked up with Rihanna, Kanye West and M.I.A and they were all amazing. Unfortunately M.I.A's microphone went silent for most of her performance, so I'm assuming someone back stage got in big trouble! Overall I was in my element, prancing around to music and eating starchy snacks. Seriously everywhere I turned there was a van or stall hurling out chips and fried chicken, unfortunately not a lot of variety regarding food and guess what: no one sold CAKE. Now that I'm getting a bit more business minded, I understand why that is. However I could have done with a red velvet cupcake while sitting and listening to Ed Sheeran.

Imagine eating the cupcake plastered all over this post while sitting in a field surrounded by girls in denim shorts and guys in skinny jeans. Ignoring everything around you because what's in the palm of your hand is a jaffa cupcake with a marbled sponge and chocolate orange buttercream. I know what your thinking and yes they are not recommended for anyone on a strict diet! They are for anyone who says 'f$% the diet', a saying I repeat every other Sunday.

Normally I would snap away and choose one or two images for a post, although today I want to publish photos again and again.

Recipe for 12 cupcakes using muffin cases.


For cupcakes..
125g unsalted butter
125g golden caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
20g organic cocoa
2 large eggs
125g self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
3 tbsp milk

125g unsalted butter
200g sifted icing sugar
50g cocoa powder
3 tbsp orange juice
1 tsp orange zest
Mini jaffa cakes


Preheat oven to 180°c.
Cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.
Add the eggs one at a time, then mix in the flour and baking powder.
Lastly pour the milk.

:Divide the batter, in one add the essence, in the other the cocoa powder. Mix each batter until smooth.

Using a small scoop or teaspoon, fill each case with one scoop of vanilla then chocolate ontop. 
Bake for 20 minutes.
Leave to cool on a rack.

Make the butter cream by whisking the butter, juice, icing sugar and cocoa powder. Lastly stir in the zest. Be careful with icing sugar it has a tendency to turn your clothes white if you stand to close to the mixer! Add in small quantities.
Pipe buttercream on the cakes, and top with mini jaffa cake. The orange juice gave the buttercream a glossy look and texture so refrigerating the cakes is recommended, this way the buttercream will toughen up a bit on the exterior but still be soft.

When the beauties came out the oven.

Again...so cute.

Again...the inside marble effect.

Again...looking amazing.

Lastly a bird's eye view.

Does the jaffa cake deserve to be named a biscuit or a cake?

 I mean it's in the biscuit aisle at most supermarkets, packed like most biscuits and even looks like one. Why hasn't it been named jaffa biscuit? On the contrary the base is nearly a sponge cake! Personally the name is sweet as it stands, if it was coined a biscuit I would be dunking it in tea, and they are delicious consumed on their own. At least with the above cupcake, you can eat the jaffa on top and still enjoy a cup of tea with the cake!

What do you think? Would you dunk a jaffa in your cuppa?


23 June 2012

Cherry and Almond Cupcakes

'Reasonable Doubt' by Jay-Z

This was Jay - Z's first and in my opinion defining album. I am super excited about seeing him perform tomorrow and simply had to get him on. Apart from being one of the most important artists of our generation, Jay-Z is an inspiration. I'm here cooking, typing, working every muscle in my body to pursue a dream. A life long goal to be an innovative cook, entrepreneur and build a profile that will stick like icing on a cake for many years. Of course I'm not the only one in this situation, it takes perseverance, hope and stamina to continue a path that will be worthwhile. I'm going way off tangent and will focus on the gorgeous cake above, if I don't this post could get a bit too deep and meaningful, and those chats are best done with a glass of wine and packet of Maltesers! 

Cherry and almond laced in a cake is so divine I cannot brag enough about how amazing these flavours are. There will be loads more cakes next week as I am gearing up for a special project in which I have to produce 25 cupcakes at an exquisite standard. I'm not even on 'The Great British Bake Off' but I've been feeling the oven heat on my back all week! I've made this cake before and it was featured on Tesco's website here. The craving for them again came about after the massacre of my first batch.  First thing this morning I made a lovely handful of vanilla cupcakes with a secret stash of jam in the middle, topped with strawberry butter cream and red smarties, sounds delicious! Now as I cycled down Graham road I realised the bumps were getting too abrupt, and if I was bouncing up and down, the cakes must have benn all over the place. I stopped, ripped open the bag and saw them all upside down - gutted. With disappointed cake fury I dashed them in the nearest bin and got on with my bike ride, someone lucky must have discovered them by now!

▶ Here's the recipe for 12 cupcakes, using muffin cases. I basically halved the generic cake recipe I always use.


For cake...
125g unsalted butter
125g golden caster sugar
2 tsp almond essence
2 large eggs
125g self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
3 tbsp milk - or coconut water

125g unsalted butter
Half a teaspoon of strawberry essence
250g sifted icing sugar
1 tbsp milk
Flaked almonds
Glaced or fresh cherries


Preheat oven to 180°c.
: Cream butter, essence and sugar until pale and fluffy - this should take a good 7 minutes in a cake mixer or a lot longer by hand. Make sure the butter is at room temperature.
: Add the eggs one at a time, then mix the flour and baking powder in.
: Lastly pour the milk.
: Using an ice cream scoop or another accurate spoon of measurement, fill each case with one scoop. These will rise and should hit the top of the case without a muffin look.
: Bake for 25 minutes, no more and no less please. Spongy and springy, not hard and dark brown!
: Leave to cool on a rack.

: Make the butter cream by whisking the butter, essence, milk and icing sugar.
: Pipe on the cakes, and top with flaked almonds and cherries. Even if you don't have a piping nozzle or bag, simply use a small bag and snip the corner, fill with half the butter cream and get piping!

Here is a close up of the cake and of course a random appearance by moi.


Favourite Song:

ê 'Can I Live II'

Have a superb weekend.x

18 June 2012

Chilli Crab Fettucine

♬ 'Alright Still' by Lily Allen

I miss Lily, not that we were best mates! Her outlandish and hilarious lyrics on this album makes me nod with everything she says. Now it seems she has disappeared and just getting on with life: good for her. I would love to make her a good cup of tea, bake an amazing cake, and just chat about what she's up to. Until that day I will continue wishful thinking and write about luscious food.

Fish glorious fish. The only thing I can stomach at the moment. My unfortunate illness left me bed bound and I felt abysmal last weekend, also surviving on pulverised foods similar to a baby's diet wasn't pleasant. Onwards and upwards people...with a few pounds to my name I invested in a can of chopped tomatoes, white tinned crab meat (listen it's not as bad as it looks) and a packet of fettucine. Crab was a spontaneous and rather expensive choice, actually chosen because it reminded me of staying at my grandma's. An after school trip I didn't really enjoy, only when we went to the market did I have a skip in my walk. She would haggle with the fishmongers about the size and price of a decent crab and after I was always allowed to carry the blue polythene bag with the sad crab wrapped in newspaper. Once home she unravelled the crab and the poor thing was upside down all tied up, so I turned it the other way and cut the string loose. Gran went mad and that's when I was shooed out the kitchen. I would stand by the door and hear the snap crackle and pop of the poor crab being torn apart. Of course this didn't deter me at dinner time, the crab was soaked in curried tomato broth. Yum.
 Tonight's result is very far from what my genius grandma produced, but hey the above is a comforting basic dish with not much creativity going in, sometimes simple works best on a Monday. Poultry and meat are a tad boring and I get more excitement stepping into the fishmongers and annoying the guys in Crouch End, pestering them about all the species they have swimming about. With that in mind, it's all about the fish for a while. 

Give this sauce a go, even if crab is not your catch of the day, try tuna.

 ▶ Recipe for two.


Organic chopped tomatoes (400g)
2 small deseeded red chillies, chopped finely. 
(Wash your hands properly after this, rub lemon on fingers after)
Half tsp fenugreek seeds
1 large garlic clove crushed.
Olive oil
Fresh coriander
Anchovy fillets (50g) 
Allow 60g of dried pasta each.


: Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a pot and add the *fenugreek seeds.
: Once popping, tip in the garlic and chillies.
: Stir for about one minute then the chopped anchovies can get involved.
: Chopped tomatoes in next,  leave this to slowly simmer for 20 minutes. Season if you wish, but anchovies are quite salty so maybe a bit of pepper will help. 
: Bring salted water to the boil and add the pasta. When 'al dente', drain and serve on a plate with the sauce and fresh coriander on top.


*Once fried these seeds leave their bitterness and give off a smoky caramel flavour which works beautifully in this dish. Let's face facts, no one likes biting into a seed, that's why roasting, or frying is the first point of call when spices are involved. 

Favourite Song:

ê 'Nan You're A Window Shopper'
'Everythings Just Wonderful'

15 June 2012

Cherry Chocolate Cola Cake


'Number Ones' by Stevie Wonder

After laughing constantly for an hour last night whilst watching Eddie Murphy's 'Raw', I got Stevie on this morning and all of a sudden I wanted to bake, but what? I got it: cola cake with cherries and chocolate! I googled - found and saw it had been done! Classic. Of course someone had already tried this, well this time I was going to add my own spin. This was all thought about while still in bed, before I had even started my abdominal exercises! You can imagine how difficult it was to hold the plank for 1minute 30seconds when all I was thinking about was cherry cola. I collapsed after 1 minute.

I'm not a fan of fizzy drinks, when mixed with a cheeky vodka or rum it's lovely but other than that I'm a pure H20 girl at heart. Cola has a good and bad rep, I've heard it's so acidic it can clean toilets, aeroplane engines and yes make your teeth fall out if you are slightly obsessed with the taste. Once upon a time having Coca Cola at my parents house was a novelty, in fact it was always left over from the night we shared a bucket of KFC. It would sit next to the Ribena and I wasn't even tempted, maybe because when I took one gulp my throat would burn and an immediate ghastly burp would shake the kitchen windows.

A month ago I made a coke marinade for ribs. it was following an America recipe and the results were tantalising! I figured by heating coke it gets concentrated and thicker, and to get this in a cake why not heat it with butter to add thickness?! Also I am a fiend for cherries at the moment and as much as they and any other fruit are better eaten raw, I have added glacé cherries in the cake and topped with organic cherry jam to make myself feel a bit better.

One more thing before I delve into recipe mode, the cake was originally supposed to be two layers sandwiched with jam and topped with chocolate and cherries. Basically the second sponge stuck to the base and my lack of grammar was vocally expressed with the 'F' word a few times. Anyway I worked around the mistake, learnt my lesson on how not to grease a tin and ended up with one sponge. 

 ▶ Recipe for two sponges to make a double cake, or half the ingredients for the one above.


250g wholemeal self raising flour
200g brown soft sugar
200ml Coca- Cola
125g unsalted butter
Half a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
1 tablespoon of Nutella
2 medium eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
100g glaced cherries, chopped.
Popping candy


Organic cherry jam
200g milk chocolate
Fresh cherries


: Melt the butter and coke on the hob. Take off the heat and add the bicarbonate of soda. Leave for about 15 minutes.
What this reaction does and why I have added it now and not to the dry mixture:
This chemical reaction forms bubbles of carbon dioxide, which will expand under high temperature. Therefore combined with self raising flour will make the cake have bigger air pockets and rise that bit more.
Preheat oven to 180°c.
: Grease and line two 20cm sandwich tins.
Combine flour and sugar in a bowl.
: Add the coke mixture and whisk until smooth, then introduce the eggs one at a time.
: Fold in the Nutella, essence and cherries.
: Pour in each tin and bake for 40 minutes.
: Take out, use a skewer and stab the sponges. Pour one lid of coke over each cake.
: Leave to cool, then turn out.
: Sandwich together with cherry jam.
: Melt milk chocolate over simmering hot water and slowly spread over the top of the cake.
: Top with cherries and popping candy.

For the one above:
Spread jam over cooled sponge, then melt chocolate and pour over the top. Finish off with cherry and popping candy.


Who got this cake?
My favourite checkout lady in Tesco.
 I knew she deserved it as soon as she told me 'I flipping love cherries darl, I tell ya I ate 2kg the other day!'

Favourite Song:

ê 'Master Blaster (Jammin')

12 June 2012

Naan Dough Balls with Coriander and Garlic Butter

'The Invisible Band' by Travis


Yes this album is a bit more lively!

In this case EAT EAT EAT. You have to try these amazing naan dough balls, they would whoop the dough balls at Pizza Express by about 10 miles. Don't believe me?! There could be a chance I'm being slightly overdramatic and extremely enthusiastic about a bunch of balls. Anyway with the other half of the naan bread from the previous recipe I started to get creative and made the above.

A very simple idea that can be executed in a matter of minutes and add a wow factor to a dinner party. I know making bread is time consuming, but nothing beats the lingering aroma of home baked bread in the house.

You will need:

50g soft butter
Small bunch of chopped coriander.
1 small garlic clove crushed.


: Follow the recipe and method to make naan bread. Instead of rolling out, tear away small balls and roll in your hands. Press in the middle with index finger.
: Depending on how many you are feeding, you could use half the dough to make 8 or the whole lot to make 16. 
: Bake at 190°c for 20 minutes on greaseproof paper lightly brushed with butter. once golden brown, take out and brush again with butter.
: Soften the butter first by mashing it with a fork, then add the garlic and coriander.
: Serve dough balls straight away (most lovely when hot).


Favourite Song:

ê 'Flowers In The Window'

Naan Calzone

'The Man Who' by Travis 

The helmet is off and I am now strangely at ease in East London, hidden away at the back of the house, on a quiet road away from the headache that is London. Honestly today has been a nightmare. Cycling from north to east was equally just as bad with horns, raging cars and buses that were swerving like snakes. I would normally blog when I am floating high up in the clouds and excitable, but unfortunately today I am just in a 'meh' mood. Eventually listening to Travis is slowly shaking the crap of the day off my shoulders. Funnily enough this album is on because 'Why does it always rain on me?' was sang loudly by a driver who kindly drove around a large puddle and saved my Topshop leggings getting drenched. 
Right let me get out of this sombre mood, check out this Viddy:


What is worth blogging about is the dish right at the top, how good does it look? Yummy and gorgeous. It's a cross between an aloo paratha and the classic calzone which I've been wanting to try for a while. Recently I've been craving calzone and switching to pizza as an easy option. Today the yeast packet at the back of the cupboard made an appearance, that's when I knew it was time to get a wriggle on. I also found that the action of kneading is also a mini workout for the wrists and fingers, might mention that to my boxing trainer this week - actually got a feeling he might just want the naan calzone!

▶ Here's the recipe for two large naan calzones:


I figured without a tandoor oven, the easiest way to make naan is to make bread as i would, and use milk and nigella seeds for a bit of authenticity.

250g plain flour
15g dried yeast (1 heaped teaspoon)
150ml warm milk
Pinch of salt
2 tsp nigella seeds

Quick Saag Aloo (spinach and potato)

If you wish you could add 3 large fresh tomatoes to this recipe. Add them before the potatoes.

2 large potatoes, peeled and diced.
200g wilted spinach
Half a teaspoon of mustard seeds
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp garam masala
1 crushed garlic clove
Small piece of ginger (about 2cm chunk) minced.
2 tbsps vegetable oil
Fresh coriander


First activate the yeast, and sometimes I really wish this was by a button! Warm milk in the microwave on a medium setting for about 20 seconds, then add yeast and leave for 20 minutes until bubbles form at the top.
: In a bowl combine flour, salt and nigella seeds. Pour in the yeast mixture and get your hands involved. Tip the bowl out on a work surface and get kneading for 3 solid minutes, use a phone with a timer!
: Then put dough back in a bowl, cover with a damp cloth and leave in a warm room, (I always opt for the boiler room) for about an hour until it has doubled in size.
: Meanwhile make the saag aloo by par boiling the diced potatoes, yes I know this is a big shortcut and rather cheeky, but hey it speeds things up! 
: Add vegetable oil in a pan, wait for 1 minute and add mustard seeds, when they pop add garlic and ginger.
: Tip in the potatoes after another minute, stir until each potato has been lathered in seeds. Add the powders.
: Time for the spinach in batches. Simmer for 15 minutes, taste and season. Then leave off the heat, sprinkle a bit of coriander and leave lid on.
: Preheat oven to 190°c.
: Check the naan dough and once risen, knock back (punch in an upward motion) for 2 minutes.
: Split the dough in half and roll one out to a circle (doesn't have to be perfect) fill with spinach and potato, and fold over. Seal by pressing hard around the edges, brush lightly with butter. Bake for 25 minutes until golden brown. Repeat this for the second.

Once out, brush again with butter and serve straight away with your chosen raita, chutney or sauce.


Favourite Song:
ê 'Writing To Reach You'