Monday, 27 May 2013

Chocolate Mud Cupcakes

chocolate mud cupcakes One of my husband's favourite cakes is the simple chocolate cupcake, you know the ones your Mum bought when you were a kid with the hard chocolate tops?  Last time I made them for him I simply melted chocolate on to the top and let it set for an extra solid topping but I'm not sure that's quite how they should be.  He requested that I make them again this weekend and I like to keep my husband happy so that's what I did, although this time I decided to go for a slightly softer topping attempt using a thick chocolate ganache.

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Toffee Vodka and Eurovision Hen Weekend

It's been a little quiet in the Normal Kitchen lately as I've been so busy with other things there's just been no time for baking. I realise this is tantamount to impossibility as surely baking is very important and if there isn't time for it then you simply make time for it!  But baking should always be pleasurable and if you're shoe horning it in after a long day at work then I think it needs to act as a stress reliever and not feel like you're doing it for the sake of it.  So aside from the day job what have I been up to over the last couple of weeks?

Well last weekend I went on a good friend's hen do and had the most awesome time.  It was all very relaxed as we were lucky enough to be staying in a beautiful barn in the West Sussex countryside, complete with hot tub, hammock and more alcohol than a branch of Majestic Wine.  We did the most hilarious life drawing classes (something I've wanted to try for a while) and had our very own Eurovision party which basically involved yelling at the telly a lot and waving flags around whilst finding any old reason to make other people have a drink.  OVERSIZED NOVELTY!!!!!!  Everyone drink.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Keeping it Sweet With Banoffee Cheesecake

We spent this weekend visiting some very good friends and it's traditional that I indulge my love of baking and bring the dessert.  I usually make something I've never tried before and this time I decided to try James Martin's Banoffee Cheesecake which combines two of my favourite foods - bananas and caramel.  Another part of the appeal of this is that cheesecakes don't take as long to make as some dishes and I didn't want to spend hours on end in the kitchen instead of spending time with my friends and my husband.

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Spreading the Normal Kitchen Love

I've taken a little time out from the kitchen to go all social media crazy this week and you can now keep up to date with kitchen shenanigans on Facebook and Twitter.

Please head on over to the Normal Kitchen Facebook page and 'Like' the page to join in the baking conversation there.  You can see photos, post comments and generally conflab with other baking lovers.

If you're a Tweeter you can follow my baking ramblings by finding @normalkitchen on Twitter or else click on the 'Follow' option at the top of this page where I've posted a handy Tweet and link.

I'd love to hear about some of your own kitchen experiences so if you'd like to share them you can comment on posts on this blog or else use the Facebook and Twitter pages to send messages or photos.

Happy baking everyone x

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Classic Recipes: Tarte Tatin

This weekend we visited my parents and I decided that I would like to try a classic recipe that I'd never made before to contribute dessert for us all.  It was also a good opportunity to take advantage of my Mum's gas hob, far preferable to the cheapo electric jobby that's installed in our rented flat.  I browsed the web for recipe inspiration and settled on the French classic, Tarte Tatin.  I love apples and it's a good time of year for them so it seemed a good choice.

I decided to use Mary Berry's recipe from the Great British Bake Off; if it is good enough for the contestants of the show then it is definitely good enough for me.  It also meant I got the opportunity to watch Mary herself making it courtesy of You Tube before I began which would hopefully increase my chances of producing good results.

Thursday, 2 May 2013

A Night of Food Chat With Gizzi Erskine at the WI

Gizzi Erskine Skinny Weeks and Weekend Feasts
Last night I attended my first ever meeting of the Women's Institute to hear the delectable Gizzi Erskine talk about her new book, Skinny Weeks and Weekend Feasts.  Having trained at Leith's School of Food and Wine Gizzi certainly knows a thing or two about food but for me the thing that's most engaging about her is her obvious enthusiasm for creating dishes that she really wants to eat.  With an eye on nutrition, balance and a refreshing refusal to view carbs as the devil's food, Gizzi's approach is all about flavour and pleasurable food.

Gizzi has travelled extensively and influences from the Far East in particular are peppered throughout her recipes.  This is definitely my sort of food and I thoroughly enjoyed hearing her talk about her experiences of Thai, Malaysian and Korean cuisines.  I have made the Lamb and Butternut Squash Tagine from Channel 4's Cook Yourself Thin several times, a show which Gizzi presented and threw her firmly in the spotlight.  Now I'm looking forward to trying more of her recipes and finding things that taste far more sinful than they are.